Students plan Highway 26 roadwork

Students sought feedback on their Highway 26 project


HARRINA HWANG | The Daily Evergreen

Maynard Siev is one of the senior engineering students in charge of the redesign project for State Route 26.

LINH NGUYEN, Evergreen reporter

A team of four engineers are working to improve the safety of Highway 26 by building a roundabout and creating a report for state engineers.

The students, Chao Zhang, Maynard Siev, Kaylene Kuykendall and Cassandra Steffen presented their concerns with the state route at a forum Friday.

Highway 26 is a 134-mile, single-lane road that runs between Vantage and Colfax.

Siev said with seasonal changes affecting road conditions, there has been a rise in collisions on the highway.

As a result of colder winters, ice tends to compact, and become more slippery. This usually led to fatal crashes Steffen said, an environmental engineer working on the project.

With more vehicle rollovers, there has been an increase in deaths, including a WSU assistant professor along with a number of students.
To combat the issue on colder temperatures, Siev, a senior at WSU in charge of transportation, runs driving classes for students and community members on winter preparedness.

However, with the low turnout rate, Siev expressed his concerns with the community’s lack of awareness.

“If parents can put time and money into this college, but not make sure their kids can have a safe trip along the way — there’s something wrong.”

Other issues Siev said he hopes the Department of Transportation will address included repaving existing potholes, along with adding more passing lanes.

After the presentation, the team asked for any other solutions or ideas for the route.

Their next forum will be from 4 – 7 p.m Oct. 12, with the location currently pending. The meeting will include an online survey for people to fill out, located on the team’s Facebook page, SR 26 Highway Improvement Project (Public).

The team hopes to provide more information on the location, costs and safety benefits, through the use of detailed photos of pavement issues and crash sites, Siev said.

He said their goal is to present a final report to a board of engineers in the near future.