Get stuck in traffic near Union Gap Mall? City plans major road projects to fix it

Get stuck in traffic near Union Gap Mall? City plans major road projects to fix it »Play Video
UNION GAP, Wash. -- If you drive around Union Gap you know it's no easy thing. There's a lot of traffic. Now, the city has long-term plans to get rid of the biggest problem: too many trucks on the road.

Traffic around malls and shopping centers is nothing new. However, Union Gap city officials say traffic in the city is becoming such a problem they have to stop it before it gets worse.

"Throughout the day traffic is pretty busy," Wynter Close-Schibig said. "Busier than you would think."

City officials say too many trucks are getting on and off the highway and mixing with local traffic. It's dangerous and a headache for drivers.

"You get stuck behind trucks that take forever to go through a light. They just take a long time to gain momentum from a red light so you end up stuck at the next red one," Wynter said.

Union Gap has two plans for major road projects that would overhaul traffic flow. A new interchange and beltway would take trucks directly from Interstate 82 and Highway 97 to the city's industrial area south of Ahtanum Road. Since there are so many trucks coming and going, the city will also try to attract new industrial businesses to the area where over 300 acres sit empty.

The city's public works director says nearly 600 trucks drive through the city everyday. Clearing them from traffic will make driving much easier.

"Out of our school zones, off our main corridors, the motoring public will really see a tremendous difference," said Dennis Henne, Union Gap Public Works Director.

The city has already received letters of intent from state and federal officials to help pay for the $25 million project. However it's still in need of much more funding.

Union Gap hopes to have a final design plan within a year.

Something drivers are happy to hear.

"It probably would be helpful to be able to put the trucks somewhere else because visibility around a truck is rough," Lucy Primrose said.

The city said the project is similar in size to the roundabouts and will take years to complete.