An open house Tuesday unveiled four options to improve intersections with U.S. Highway 12 as it travels through Walla Walla.

The presentation was part of a study started late last year to determine how to improve north-south travel across the highway as the city grows over the next 20 years. Costing about $247,000, the study is being conducted by DKS Associates of Portland in conjunction with the city of Walla Walla, Walla Walla County, Port of Walla Walla and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

About 30 people attended the afternoon event at City Hall, where displays outlined the study process and showed the four scenarios for intersection improvements. A second open house to gather more feedback will happen later this summer or in early fall to gather more feedback, said Scott Mansur, consulting engineer with DKS Associates.

“Once we get your feedback, we’re going to take three of these alternative scenarios, advance them and do more detailed traffic analysis, do more detailed screening and then we’ll come back to you in at the end of summer or early fall to get more feedback on what you feel is the preferred alternative,” he said.

Mansur said the intersections addressed in the study were the Second Avenue interchange, Rees Avenue, Clinton Street-Lower Waitsburg Road, Wellington Avenue where the road goes underneath Highway 12, the Wilbur Avenue intersection and the Airport Way interchange.

“The purpose of the study is to identify current and future alternatives for access and accessibility north and south of Highway 12,” he said.

Mansur and Neal Chavre, Walla Walla city engineer, said they hope to have all of the documents that were on display at Tuesday’s open house posted on the city’s website by the end of this week. People will also be able to offer comments and feedback on the options by emailing Chavre at

No funding has been identified at this time for any of the improvements, Mansur said, “and that would be something that would have to come down the road.”

Mansur added that “one thing we want to make sure is clear is Highway 12 is a WSDOT facility, so whatever recommendations will also have to be approved by WSDOT as an acceptable alternative.”


Andy Porter can be reached at or 526-8318.

Andy Porter has been with the Union-Bulletin since October 2000. His beats include Walla Walla County, city of College Place, Washington State Penitentiary, agriculture, environment as well as a wide range of general assignment topics.