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Bridge Construction Project

Transportation
FAQ's


Gary N. Ekstedt, P.E. -
Gary.Ekstedt@co.yakima.wa.us
County Engineer / Assistant Director for Transportation Services

FAQ's by Section

Construction | Engineering | Right of Way | Road Maintenance
Transportation Engineering

Engineering

How can I get my road on the list to be improved?
While the County Road Engineer utilizes a "Level of Service" (LOS) formula to plan and prioritize gravel road paving projects, the public can petition for a road to be paved.  Every November, the County's Six-Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) is brought before the Board of County Commissioners and the general public in a public hearing to ratify the County's plan for road projects for the upcoming six years.  The public is welcome to participate in this process in seeking their road(s) inclusion in the gravel road paving priority list. Call (509) 574-2300 for information about how to obtain a road improvement petition. 

How do I get my company listed on the County small works roster?
Yakima County Public Services maintains a small works roster for public works contracts for construction, building, remodeling etc., with a dollar amount limit set by Washington State.  Applications and current roster status can be obtained by contacting Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300.

How does the County determine which gravel roads get paved?
The prioritization and scheduling of paving gravel roads is under the direction of the County Road Engineer.  Based on selected criteria (not limited to: daily traffic counts, surrounding development and zoning, safety concerns, and available funding; among others) gravel roads are included on the County's Six-Year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).  The TIP assists the County in planning and prioritizing County road projects within a financially constrained budget.

I need to talk to the Engineer on my road improvement project.
Depending on the issue in question, you may be directed to a specific division staff person to answer your road project question.  Technical, engineering, or managerial staff will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible.  Please contact us at (509) 574-2300.

I was told that our gravel road would be paved this year, but nothing has yet happened.  Are you still paving our road?
Yakima County's Annual Road Construction Plan and Six Year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) are the County's best tools in prioritizing and scheduling road projects.  However, factors can delay planned projects as scheduled in these documents.  Delays in completing required permitting processes, acquiring right of way, contractor availability, securing adequate funding, and addressing last minute engineering issues can all delay the start of a project.  Yakima County strives to keep affected road project stakeholders involved in project status updates.

Is our company on the County consultant roster?    
Yakima County maintains an annually updated roster for professional consultant services of architects, biologists, engineers, land surveyors, and other to assist in developing County projects.  Consultant candidates can contact Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300 for listing requirements and current roster status.

[If I have] Questions regarding consultant agreements?
Questions regarding consultant agreements can be directed to (509) 574-2300.  Depending on the agreement issue, a contractor will be directed to the appropriate staff or division.

Is there a private company in Yakima County that dust abates private roads?
While it is Yakima County's policy not to specifically recommend private businesses, there are companies who may offer private dust abatement services. Please check the Yellow Pages or contact local contractors for potential firms.

How does a road improvement district work?
Road Improvement Districts (RIDs) are a voluntarily-imposed (voted) taxing authority on selected properties to generate revenue for a specific transportation project.  In coordination with the County Road Engineer, an RID is placed on a special ballot for affected property owners to approve an assessment on their property taxes dedicated to funding the road project.  Inquiries on creating an RID can be directed to the County Road Engineer at (509) 574-2300.

  Why can't my gravel road be paved?
Yakima County maintains nearly 570 miles of gravel roads throughout the County.  Yearly, the County is able to pave 6-10 miles of gravel roads based on available funding sources.  To minimize airborne dust on gravel roadways, the Road Maintenance Department also performs a one-time yearly dust abatement treatment on most gravel roads.  To find out when your gravel road may be dust abated or paved, contact our Road Maintenance Department at (509) 574-2300.

 

Road Maintenance

My road is covered in snow and ice; will you be plowing or sanding it soon?
Snow and ice control is one of the most significant winter activities performed by Yakima County Road Maintenance crews. These crews prepare for each snow season beginning in October with a trial run of equipment installation and a review of safety practices, snow removal routes and policies.  When a winter storm event is forecasted, a liquid de-icer may be applied to road sections known to be ice prone. These road sections are typically river bridges, north facing grades and shaded areas. Chemical application rates vary depending upon the forecasted temperature and snowfall accumulations.  During a light snowfall or when freezing rain occurs, spot sanding is done at locations such as signalized intersections, stop signs, bridges, curves, hills or locations where sand is requested by law enforcement agencies such as at the scene of traffic accidents, fires or other emergencies.  For more information on snow removal policies, go to: http://www.yakimaCounty.us/transportation/snowRemoval.htm

My road is dusty. Will you be watering it down or dust abating it anytime soon? 
To minimize airborne dust on gravel roadways, the Road Maintenance Department performs a one-time yearly dust abatement treatment on over 350 miles of gravel roads.  Usually performed during the months of May and June, dust abatement techniques are intended to limit but not eliminate airborne dust. To find out when your gravel road may be dust abated, contact Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300.

My road needs grading.  When will the County be grading it?
We will be grading your road when the graders are in the area.  If the road is extremely bad we can have a grader there shortly.

The dust abatement has worn off.  Will you be dust abating again?
Typically, Yakima County applies dust abatement once per year. However, all roads are different.  So we evaluate each one when the situation arises.

The traffic sign down the street is down/damaged, are you going to fix it?
If you find a sign down or other road maintenance concern, you can complete an "on-line maintenance request form" or call the road maintenance division at (509) 574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (after hours please call (509) 574-2300).

There is a dead animal in the road.  Can the County pick it up?
If you find a dead animal or other road maintenance concern, you can complete an "on-line maintenance request form" or call the road maintenance division at 509-574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (after hours please call (509) 574-2300).

There is a pothole in the road.  When will you be repairing it?
If you find a pothole or other road maintenance concern on a County road, you can complete an "on-line maintenance request form" or call the road maintenance division at 509-574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There is garbage or debris in the road.  When can the County pick it up?
Depending on the cause and condition of the debris, the road maintenance department will coordinate with the debris owner and appropriate law enforcement personnel to insure safe navigation.  If it is a traffic hazard, we will pick it up right away.  If not, we will schedule a crew to pick it up.  If you find debris on the roadway or other road maintenance concern, you can complete an "on-line maintenance request form" or call the road maintenance division at 509-574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (after hours please call (509) 574-2300).

There is water over the roadway.  What is the County going to do about this?
Depending on the cause of the flow, Yakima County Public Services will determine whether to close the road to traffic and place appropriate signage until the water issues is appropriately fixed [addressed].  If you find a debris on the roadway or other road maintenance concern, you can complete an "on-line maintenance request form" or call the road maintenance division at 509-574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday (after hours please call (509) 574-2300).

Vegetation is growing tall along the road and near our intersection.  When will you be mowing?
To insure safe navigation of our roadways, the Public Services Maintenance Department performs regular drainage maintenance and vegetation management on over 1600 miles of County roads.  For routine service requests or questions about our maintenance operations, please call 509-574-2396, 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

 

Construction

Can you explain the survey stakes near my property?
As part of Yakima County's preliminary engineering activities, County crews use survey equipment and "survey stakes" along the prospective project area to mark the extents of County right of way, utility location(s), planned or existing landmarks, and projected property acquisition areas.  This process aids in designing the new project.

How long will our road be under construction and when will it reopen?
Yakima County strives to keep adjacent property owners and affected stakeholders informed on the status of its road projects.  Through public meetings and correspondence prior to the start of a project, Public Services aims to provide the most accurate schedule information of construction activities, utility interruptions, and access restrictions.  Inquiries on project status can be directed to (509) 574-2300.

Questions from contractors wanting to substitute other material or methods in jobs
Change Orders or substitution requests for County-approved contractors and vendors can be forwarded to the appropriate project manager/engineer at (509) 574-2300 as per the project contract language.

 

Transportation Engineering

Can I get a second driveway to my property?
Due to traffic safety concerns, road capacity, and potential conflict points in high traffic areas, Yakima County discourages the practice of multiple driveways.  However, exceptions may be considered for lots over five (5) acres.  Contact Yakima County at (509) 574-2300 for more information.

Can I plant trees in front of my house?
Yakima County encourages citizens to beautify roadsides in front of their property.  However, any objects on County property cannot restrict visibility or pose a crash hazard.  Please be aware that the County usually owns the land under the road and for a distance of 20 to 50 feet from the center of the road.  For more information regarding setbacks, restrictions, rights-of-way, or other sighting questions, contact Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300.

How can I get information on subdivision X?
Yakima County Public Services has a variety of records regarding conditions imposed on subdivisions, utilities, roads, etc.  For more information, contact Yakima County at (509) 574-2300.

How do I build my road approach?
Upon the approval of a "Road Approach Permit" by Yakima County Public Services, the applicant can build their road approach, per County standards, by themselves or contracted vendor.

How do I get an address for my property?
Yakima County Ordinance #4-2007 limits one address per approved parcel.  Unimproved properties, properties without an approved County road access, non-maintained rights-of-way, and additional buildings built on a parcel after the original structure will not receive its own address.  Multi-building parcels will share a base address with a "unit, suite, etc." identifier per the property owners consultation with their local postmaster and fire district.  You can request an address by completing and submitting an address request form or as a component action to your building or project permit (s) process.

How do I name my road?
In accordance to Yakima County Ordinance 4-2007, private driveways accessing five (5) or more residenced properties, new or existing developments with public/private access roads, or existing named roads may be petitioned for a new road name.  The applicant (s) must fill out the "Road Name Request Form" [PUT LINK HERE].  Renaming an existing named road (public or private) must be heard before the Board of County Commissioners in a public hearing.  Unnamed road applications will be reviewed by the County Address Coordinator and issued the applicant's highest submitted requested name that meets all County road naming criteria.

I have a property that I would like to access to a County road.  What do I do?
Property owners can request a "Road Approach Permit" that provides access between their property and any adjacent County right of way.  Property owners without adjacent frontage to County right of way must seek legal access over neighboring properties to an approved location on County right of way.  Yakima County will provide access recommendation and approvals on a case-by-case basis.

I lost my address plate.  Where do I get a new one?
Yakima County will issue one (1) address plate upon successful completion of an applicant's building permit process.  Replacement plates may be obtained at the owner's expense at National Barricade in Yakima, WA at (509) 453-4461.

I need a franchise, and what is it?
RCW's 36.55.010 to 36.55.080 (in concurrence with WAC 136-40-030 and Yakima County Resolution #172-1993) states "...[the] board of County commissioners may grant franchises to persons or private or municipal corporations to use the right-of-way of County roads in their respective counties for the construction and maintenance of waterworks, gas pipes, telephone, telegraph, and electric light lines, sewers and any other such facilities."  Accordingly, an applicant may submit a "Request for Franchise" to place a public/private utility or "other such facility" within Yakima County Right of Way.  This process, requiring a public hearing preceded by two public newspaper notices, can take up to 4-5 weeks to approve.  Work can not begin until the Franchise Application has been approved by the Board of Commissioners.  A "Right of Way Use Permit" or must be completed to approve actual construction work on the applicant’s project.  A standard franchise grant can remain in effect up to 25 years (depending on the utility).

I want to get access from my property to a state highway / city street.
Property owners with access issues outside of County rights of way (e.g., city streets or state highways) should contact that jurisdiction for their respective practices and policies.

I would like to get a petition for a speed limit or stop sign.
Yakima County performs a semi-annual review of county road speed zones and traffic stops.  Depending on changes in traffic flow, safety impacts, and other factors, changes will be presented to the County Commissioners through the public hearing process to approve/deny proposed changes.  Suggestions/requests for changes to speed zones or traffic stop signage may be sent to the attention of the Transportation Engineering Manager, Yakima County Public Services.  For more information, please call (509) 574-2300.

Is this where I get an event permit that involves a County Road (bicycle race, run, etc.)?
Yes. You will need to complete an event permit application and pay the appropriate fees. For more information, please call the Traffic Engineering division at (509) 574-2300, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

I need to move an overweight and/or oversized vehicle, house or manufactured home on County roads.  Do I need a permit?
Yes. Please review the Special Motor Vehicle Checklist [PUT LINK HERE] for all requirements. To request a permit, please call Yakima County Public Services (509) 574-2300.

I'd like to get traffic counts for my road
Yakima County maintains traffic counts on over 1600 miles of County roadway.  Traffic counts are performed during good weather (usually April to November) on a scheduled "zone" format.  This process should insure that no roadway's count data is more than three (3) years old.  To obtain traffic count information on your road, call Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300.

My neighbor and I are having a dispute about my access easement.  Can you help me?
Land and access disputes between private property owners are a civil matter and cannot be resolved by Yakima County.  Yakima County cannot provide legal advice nor recommend legal counsel.

My neighbor is blocking an easement.
Yakima County can confirm whether a road approach easement to County right of way has been approved.  However, any easement issues outside of County right of way are a private civil issue.  Yakima County cannot provide legal advice nor recommend legal counsel.

My project requires me to work within County right of way.  What do I need to do?
Any private work being performed within Yakima County right of way requires a "Right of Way Use Permit".  In most cases, the applicant or their contractor must provide a "Traffic Control Plan" [PUT LINK HERE] that describes appropriate warning signage for motorist and other travelers through the work area.  A utility franchise may also be required.  Depending on the issue in question, you may be directed to a specific department staff person to answer your road project question.  Technical, engineering, or managerial staff will respond to your inquiry as quickly as possible, contact them at (509) 574-2300.

What are the County's development standards?
Current Yakima County Development Standards, Road Standards, Codes, and Ordinances can be found at……[PUT LINK (S) HERE]

What do I do if I find traffic control or other roadside devices inoperable?
If you find a signal light, luminare, or other electrical traffic device inoperative, please contact the Traffic Engineering division at (509) 574-2300.

 

Right-of-Way

Are you going to sell this County property?
The County cannot "sell" its property.  However, the Board of Yakima County Commissioners (BoCC) may determine what County properties are classified as "surplus" and will put these parcels up for auction on occasion.   The BoCC will announce a list of surplus properties, the public auction process, and the auction date in advance.  For more information on future surplus property auctions, contact the Board of County Commissioners at (509) 574-1500 or the Public Services Right of Way Division at (509) 574-2300.

How does Yakima County obtain / divest [itself of] right of way?
Yakima County acquires rights of way by different means (purchase, donation, easements, land transfer, etc.).  Right of Way staff can provide you right of way acquisition information for the parcel(s) in question.  There is a process to review the request to remove (vacate) public right of way.  For this and other right of way acquisition information, contact Yakima County Right of Way at (509) 574-2300.

I need information regarding County right of way near my property.
Generally, Right of Way information is determined on a case by case review as individual rights of way vary.  To find out the right of way for your parcel/project, please call Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300 and provide your parcel number(s) or roadway segment.  County agents will research and provide you the results.

I would like to know about an easement on my property.
Specific easement information is determined on a case by case basis.  The best way to find easement information for your parcel/project is to call Yakima County Public Services at (509) 574-2300  and ask to speak to a Right of Way agent. Be sure to have your parcel number ready.  County agents will do a search on the parcel and report the results.

Is this right of way in the city or County?
You can contact either Yakima County or the city's right of way office to determine the appropriate jurisdiction of the questioned right of way.  Right of Way staff can research to see if the property lies within city or the County boundaries.  Have your parcel number ready and contact Yakima County Right of Way at (509) 574-2300 for more information.