ELLENSBURG — Traffic flowed with a sense of normalcy Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of Interstate 90 and Canyon Road, but that changed Wednesday when the Washington State Department of Transportation began roundabout construction.
There will be one-way, alternating traffic on Canyon Road during the week from 5:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The eastbound on and off ramps to I-90 will be closed weeknights from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Motorists will have to use the west on-ramp on University Way.
State Route 821 through the Yakima River Canyon will remain accessible at all times, but travelers will experience congestion and may want to consider alternate routes, according to the WSDOT website.
WSDOT assistant regional administrator Brian White said the project will decrease delay for left-turn movements and increase pedestrian and bicycle connectivity. The project, he said, is scheduled to be complete in June.
Ellensburg City Manager John Akers said the state looked at several alternatives and determined the roundabout was best for traffic in the long term.
“When WSDOT did the roundabout at the west interchange (at I-90 and University) there was a lot of anti (roundabout) conversation. Frankly, from what I hear it works great,” he said. “I think most people have come to like it now that they’ve seen what it is all about.”