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Engineering students plan to redesign Highway 26

Student deaths prompted engineering project on highway

Student+engineers+plan+to+add+an+extra+truck+lane+to+where+the+corridor+limit+intersects+with+two+highways.
Student engineers plan to add an extra truck lane to where the corridor limit intersects with two highways.

Student engineers plan to add an extra truck lane to where the corridor limit intersects with two highways.

WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

WASHINGTON STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

Student engineers plan to add an extra truck lane to where the corridor limit intersects with two highways.

KATIE SHADLER, Evergreen reporter

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After numerous concerns were expressed over the safety of Washington Highway 26, a team of WSU civil engineering students are creating a plan to design improved roads for their senior project.

The team comprised of students Maynard Siev, Kaylene Kuykendall and Cassandra Steffen, will hold a public forum Friday in Todd Hall, Room 116 to discuss concerns with the public and hand out surveys. The meeting will also be live-streamed on the CougDOT Facebook page.

Siev proposed the project in response to the multiple student deaths that occurred during students’ travels back home to the west side of Washington over winter break.

He said the project is focused on finding the most dangerous areas on the route and designing ways to make them safer.
An example of this, he said, is the incline westbound at the Washtucna junction, which needs a separate truck climbing lane to decrease amount of traffic and the amount of people passing in an unsafe area.

For the project design, Siev will act as the transportation engineer, focusing on collecting data about crashes and other road related incidents. He is also the person deciding what sections of the road get improved.

Kuykendall will be the water resource engineer for the project, looking at storm water and runoff for diversion, storage and reuse. She will assist Steffen, the environmental engineer for the project, who will focus on environmental impact studies and possible water runoff remediation.

Siev said they hope to get as much public input as they can at the forum in combination with data they’ve found.

“If public concerns and analytical data overlap, it makes it easier for us to create safe alternatives to the improvement,” she said.

The team is currently working with CougDOT to gather information for the project, but there are no current plans for implementation of the improvements to the route at this time.

However, Siev said he hopes that CougDOT takes interest in their plans by recognizing the importance of student safety.

Road safety has been a prominent issue since the crashes and deaths of several WSU students on Washington highways over the last few years.

“Even one student death should be a call for concern,” he said.

 

 

Correction: This article has been revised to reflect the third member of the team is named Maynard Siev and should be referred to as he.

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