Work Pays Off for U.S. Highway 12 Coalition
to the efforts of the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition, substantial progress
is being made on the four-laning of U.S. Highway 12 between Burbank
and the City of Walla Walla.
year, several major milestones were achieved. In February, Congress
approved $4.4 million for the project. In May, the Washington State
Legislature approved a state transportation revenue package, which
added $32.5 million for U.S. Highway 12. Enough money has now been
secured to construct a four-lane divided freeway from Burbank to
the Wallula Junction.
Planning efforts are currently underway
to determine the four-lane footprint from Wallula Junction to the
City of Walla Walla. The coalition’s current priority is to
obtain money to design and build the first nine miles of fourlane
from the City of Walla Walla to McDonald Road.
The U.S. Highway 12 Coalition was formed
in August 2001 by a group of public agencies and private businesses
to develop a
strategy to advance Walla Walla’s long sought after goal of
four-laning U.S. Highway 12.
Coalition members pooled their financial
resources to support representation in Washington, DC, and develop
comprehensive marketing materials articulating the safety and economic
development justifications for four-laning.
U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Congressman
George Nethercutt have been leading the way at the federal level
to obtain funding. Senator Maria Cantwell has also been supportive.
At the state level, Senator Mike Hewitt and Representatives Bill
Grant and Dave Mastin deserve credit for making sure U.S. Highway
12 was included in the state transportation package.
Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration
Officials Tour Highway 12 Project Site.
Right: Moe Davari, Project Engineer, WSDOT; Michael Kulback,
Regional Engineer, Federal Highway Administration; Don Whitehouse,
South Central Regional Administrator, WSDOT; Jason Smith,
Assistant Environmental Program Manager, WSDOT; Lieutenant
Colonel Edward Kertis, Commander Walla Walla District, Army
Corp of Engineers; Daniel Mathis, Division Administrator,
Federal Highway Administration; Jim Kuntz, Executive Director,
Port of Walla Walla