ROAD WORK AHEAD
Construction on George Washington Way extends into the spring of 2020
Reported and Photographed by Brian Pham
Road construction triggers a primal part of an individual’s brain—the same part that seeks food, shelter, and comments on social media. Everyone sits and grumbles in their cars, wondering what could possibly be taking construction so long.
As nearly everybody in the Tri-Cities has noticed, the construction on George Washington Way feels as if it’s taking forever.
In actuality, it hasn’t been going on forever; it has been going on since June. There has been nearly five whole months of blocked-off roads, delays and traffic backed up all the way to Hanford. And to the surprise and disappointment of many students, the wait is only about halfway over.
“I’m annoyed because other people don’t know how to drive in construction. Then it becomes dangerous for everyone,” Allison Coleman (12) said. “It’s inconvenient. It takes longer to get places, and I have to avoid driving on it now. And the fact that the project has been going on for so long, only makes things more difficult.”
Students, however, are not the only people surprised about the length of the construction project. “The contractor hasn’t been able to advance as quickly as we had hoped,” said Pete Rogalsky, Richland’s Public Works Director. “The intended finishing date for the construction was Nov. 15, but at the pace the construction has been completed, that simply isn’t possible.”
After cold weather begins in the Tri-Cities, construction on the road will come to a halt and will only resume in the spring.
And though the construction is an inconvenience, it is a necessary evil.
“Pavement, particularly on George Washington Way, gets a lot of pounding and a lot of traffic and just wears out. So, every so often, [we] have to redo it and put fresh material down to handle the wear and tear,” Rogalsky said.
Overall, the construction on George Washington Way will positively affect the community and will likely last for 20 years.
“We have to put up with the inconvenience to have facilities that are able to support the way we like to travel. So it’s kind of the price of life,” Rogalsky said.