Ahh, the first traffic cones of spring
Blooming flowers, freshly mown grass, hot asphalt – they’re the smells of spring.
Road construction season is kicking into gear in the Inland Northwest, and motorists can get a preview of what’s to come by checking out the 2007 construction map, a joint effort of Spokane County, the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, and the Washington state Department of Transportation.
Of course some projects cause more disruption than others.
Work on the Interstate 90 viaduct in downtown Spokane and on Sullivan Road in Spokane Valley will create a fair amount of driver frustration.
The first project is a continuation of work started last year to completely refurbish the portion of the freeway passing through downtown.
Last year the lanes on the south side of the viaduct were closed, with both directions of traffic squished onto the other side. Several on-ramps and off-ramps were closed.
Work begins next month, and drivers should be prepared to alter their routes or build more time into their commutes.
The Sullivan Road project is going to be a bear for three weeks in July, when the road is closed to traffic between Mission and Indiana avenues.
Another Spokane Valley project to improve Pines Road near I-90 will be under way at the same time as the Sullivan project, but major work won’t take place on both at the same time, said Spokane Valley spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch.
Also in Spokane Valley, Appleway Avenue will be widened and repaved from Tschirley Road to Hodges Road, with work from June to October. Local traffic will be accommodated on detours, Branch said.
“The through traffic we want to divert. Probably I-90 is their best choice,” she said.
Spokane drivers are already experiencing heartburn on the North Side with the closure of Maple Street between Northwest Boulevard and Wellesley. Work will move to Ash Street later in the season.
Other major Spokane projects include rehabilitation of Crestline Street from Wellesley to Illinois starting in June and curb-to-curb repaving of Southeast Boulevard from Perry to Third beginning in May.
Drivers can get a preview of projects near their homes and workplaces by picking up the combined construction map. The map is free and available at Spokane, Spokane Valley, Washington state Department of Transportation and Spokane County offices. It is also available online at www.spokanecounty.org.
Spokane police will be targeting dangerous drivers in and near construction zones this week.
Be worried if you speed through construction zones, narrowly missing workers. Be concerned about the patrols if you roar around the zones by driving 35 mph along uncontrolled residential streets leaving scared cats and children in your wake.
Don’t worry if you obey the speed limit and stick to arterials.
A ticket’s a ticket
The Washington Traffic Safety Commission is touting the benefits of electronic ticketing systems being test-driven by law enforcement.
Instead of writing up the traffic violation information, the officer enters it into a computer and gives the driver a printout. The system is supposed to save the officer time and cut down on errors (maybe with problems reading handwriting?).
All that is well and good, but a ticket is still a ticket.
Recycle car batteries
AAA is sponsoring a battery recycling event in honor of Earth Day. Between April 16 and 27, drivers can drop off lead-acid vehicle batteries at participating repair shops, as well as make appointments to have mercury switches replaced.
In Spokane, participating locations include Divine’s Auto Repair shops. Sunset Motors is offering the service in Coeur d’Alene. For more information, visit www.aaa.com.
Highway 2 closure
Highway 2 will be closed this week between Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee as crews repair washouts caused by rain and snowmelt last fall.
Traffic will be detoured along the Chumstick Highway. It’s a 30-mile detour, with steep grades and at least one curve that prevents some large trucks from using the route.
The westbound Altamont on-ramp and westbound Second Avenue off-ramp will be closed Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for light replacement.
Work to add left-turn lanes to U.S. Highway 395 at Wild Rose Road could cause some traffic delays. Turns are restricted.
Maple Street is closed from Northwest Boulevard to just north of Wellesley Avenue until the end of June. Wellesley is reduced to one lane in each direction at Ash Street and Maple Street.
Freya Street is closed from Euclid to Garland and from Market Street to Gerlach Road.
Regal Street is closed from Lacrosse Avenue to Rich avenues.
29th Avenue is reduced to one lane in each direction between Southeast Boulevard and Freya Street through May while a water main is installed and the roadway is repaved.
Second Avenue will have intermittent lane closures today through Thursday near McClellan and Washington.
Palouse Highway safety improvement work may cause delays between 57th Avenue and Highway 27.
Highway 2 repairs between Spotted Road and Craig Road could cause delays through Thursday. The right lane of westbound Highway 2 will be closed near the Spokane Airport exit from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today for bridge repair.
Mission Avenue is closed from Mullan Road to Herald today for sewer work.
Several streets are closed in the area of Evergreen Road, Valleyway and Best Road in Spokane Valley for sewer work. Springfield, Alki, Nixon and Valleyway are all closed from Evergreen to Best; Nixon is also closed from Best to Calvin; Bannen Road and Bolivar Road are closed from Sprague to Valleyway; and Calvin is closed from Main to Nixon.