Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Lewis Street overpass opens. City offers grants to affected businesses

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The Lewis Street overpass in Pasco is now open.

The $36.2 million project has been in the works for years and bridges the central business district with the growing eastern neighborhoods, “significantly boosting accessibility and community connectivity,” the city said.

The overpass stretches from Second Avenue on the west to Oregon Avenue on the east and features a 625-foot four-span concrete structure over the BNSF Railway yard and a 70-foot single span over First Avenue. Additionally, the project includes 3,000 feet of new two-lane urban streets and upgrades to key intersections.

Final touches, including landscaping, are still underway and will be completed in the coming months. A formal ribbon-cutting celebration will take place later in the year.

Originally constructed in 1937, the underpass was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and functionally obsolete with its narrow lanes, low clearance and poor visibility, creating a bottleneck for traffic and a hazard for pedestrians, the city said. 

Improvements included ADA-compliant sidewalks and bicycle lanes.

The old Lewis Street underpass in Pasco had narrow lanes, low clearance and poor visibility, creating a bottleneck for traffic and a hazard for pedestrians.

| File photo

Grants for affected businesses

The project posed challenges to businesses neighboring the construction project, which began in August 2021.

That’s why the city of Pasco is offering forgivable loans to help offset the economic hardships they experienced resulting from project-related street closures.

The money may be used to retain jobs or as emergency assistance for operating expenses for qualified small microenterprise business owners.  

This program is a gap financing program for businesses that have been impacted, the city said in a release.

The Community Development Block Grant is a federally-funded program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Businesses within the geographical area are eligible to apply. These areas generally coincide with Pascos older business districts.  

Call 509-543-5739 for more information.

For applicants needing assistance in Spanish, call Maria Serra at 509-543-5738 or email serram@pasco-wa.gov.

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