Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Official: improved Moscow-Pullman highway will encourage development"

Here's further proof that as Moscow opposes development in the Pullman/Moscow corridor, they will butt heads not just with Whitman County, but Pullman. From KLEW TV:
Construction continues on the Moscow-Pullman Highway and the City of Pullman is anxious to reap the benefits of the project.

Pullman City Supervisor John Sherman said construction of the new four-lane roadway that links the two university towns started several months ago, but the project actually hit the design phase nearly a decade ago.

Sherman said the new and improved version of the highway has safety as it's paramount purpose.

"We have a highway that has 12-foot travel lanes in both directions and seven-foot shoulders,” said Sherman. “This will be a tremendous improvement from a safety perspective. Most of our accidents are rear-enders, and that's because with just a two-lane facility, people are turning off to the right or turning to the left and other vehicles are coming up and hitting them. The other problem we have is head-on accidents. Of course, those are the most deadly. I think everyone is aware of the three WSU students that were killed out there. But we've had all kinds of tragic accidents that have occurred on this highway over time."

Besides safety, the highway project could translate into dollar signs for both communities. Sherman said economic development tends to follow pipes and pavement.

"This type of construction will facilitate development within the corridor,” he said. “Now, we have, from a zoning prospective, had a lot of area within the corridor already zoned for a variety of commercial industrial uses. But, we haven't had the road facility and we also haven't had the utilities. So, we're looking at both issues. But, yes, I think over time, particularly on the north side of the road, you will be seeing increased development."

The widened highway isn't slated to be finished until November of this year, but the city is already looking to other major projects.

"At one time all the traffic coming down from Spokane came down Davis Way to Grand Avenue and then went to Lewiston,” Sherman said. “They made the connection between Davis Way and South Grand so that you can bypass in that direction. This would take that bypass and extend it from the intersection of 195 and South Grand and carry it all the way over to Airport Road."

Sherman said that project is only in the early phases and won't happen any time this decade

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