Yakima County maintains 1,655 miles of road, 555 miles of which are gravel surfaced. Gravel road maintenance activities include periodic grading and processing, addition of gravel when needed and selected application of magnesium chloride. Other traditional maintenance activities such as snow plowing, drainage maintenance and vegetation control are also performed on the gravel road system.
Paving Gravel Roads
The prioritization and scheduling of paving gravel roads is under the direction of the County Road Engineer. Based on selected criteria (such as daily traffic counts, surrounding development and zoning, safety concerns, and available funding; among others) gravel roads are included on the County's 6-Year Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) (PDF). The TIP assists the county in planning and prioritizing county road projects within a financially constrained budget.
The public can also petition for their road to be paved. Road
Improvement Districts (RIDs) are a voluntarily-imposed (locally voted)
taxing authority on selected properties to generate revenue for a
specific transportation project. In coordination with the County Road
Engineer, a 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 a RID can be directed to
the County Road Engineer at 509-574-2300.
Every November, the
County's 6-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 6 years. The public is welcome to participate in this process
in seeking their road(s) inclusion in the gravel road paving priority
Grading Gravel Roads
Yakima County maintenance crews grade gravel roads year-round on a
“as-needed” basis. While most gravel roads are graded in preparation for
the annual surface stabilization program (which begins around
March/April), or as a result of snow plowing, other non-dust abated
roads will be graded as needed or upon request and inspection. Please
call Public Services Road Maintenance Division for more information at
In an effort to maintain ride quality and control dust through the dry
summer months, Yakima County applies magnesium chloride on selected
gravel roads. The selection process is based on a list of objective
criteria such as traffic volume, number of adjacent residences and the
type and amount of adjacent crops. The number of roads to be treated is
primarily a budgetary decision.