Richland denied $29M grant for new Aaron Drive bridge

Richland will continue to seek new funding sources after it was denied a federal grant to build a bridge at Aaron Drive to relieve bottlenecks created at the intersection of the bypass highway and Interstate 182.

The city had hoped to secure a $29 million grant for a flyover, or overpass, at the site that would have covered the lion’s share of the project cost.

Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky admitted the effort was a “long shot” and estimated there were 10 times the number of applicants, compared to the amount of available funding.

The city could pursue this funding again in the next application cycle, but Rogalsky said there’s a better chance of success with the state Legislature.

He said there’s a small amount of money available locally to help with design work to advance the concept of the project, which could help get it on the list for state funding.

Richland plans to host another open house in the coming weeks, this time to publicly unveil the work being done on a downtown connectivity study.

A committee of stakeholders has been meeting for months on how to make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get around town. Rogalsky said this study considers Richland’s downtown to be Stevens Drive east to the Columbia River and Bradley Boulevard north to Williams Boulevard.

He called the committee’s work an “impactful and visionary thing” and expects an online survey to be available after the open house to invite citizens to offer feedback.

Then Rogalsky expects a presentation to Richland City Council in March to help cement the vision for downtown connectivity and set a path for efforts to pay for the improvements identified.

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