Open house set on US 12 environmental study

The report covers the next two phases, from Frenchtown to Wallula, of the widening project.

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TOUCHET -- An open house Wednesday will highlight the environmental study for the next two phases of U.S. Highway 12 widening.

Hosted by the Washington state Department of Transportation, the event will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Touchet School, 90 Champion St., in Touchet.

The open house will present the latest information on the environmental assessment for the next two phases of construction. Phases 7 and 8 will stretch from the vicinity of Frenchtown just east of Touchet to the Wallula area and complete the widening of the highway to a four-lane thoroughfare.

Transportation engineers and WSDOT environmental and real estate workers will be available to answer questions and listen to comments.

Five phases of the widening project have been completed and the sixth phase is now under construction. That section, covering about 9.7 miles, will widen the highway from the west edge of the city of Walla Walla to the vicinity of Frenchtown. Although the $55.6 million project remains on budget, delays due to winter weather in 2008 held up completion until this June.

Another Highway 12 project scheduled to get underway soon will be construction of an interchange at Highway 12 and State Route 124 in Burbank. The $29.5 million project is scheduled to be advertised for bids at the end of this month, said Megan McFadden, WSDOT communications director.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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