Valley projects going nowhere fast
Two major Spokane Valley road construction projects are delayed because of complications purchasing necessary rights of way.
Construction crews may get started too late to finish widening and repaving Appleway Avenue near Barker Road, and it’s unlikely work will begin this year on a project to reconfigure freeway ramps and Mansfield Avenue at Pines Road.
“It’s unfortunate. Obviously, we would have liked to have these out to bid earlier and have them under construction now,” said Spokane Valley Senior Engineer Steve Worley.
The Appleway project could begin in August, but it’s highly unlikely there would be time to complete it before winter, Worley said.
“We ran into some right of way issues, and it just took longer than we expected,” he explained.
One issue that won’t be resolved now is the intersection of Appleway and Barker. Long-term plans call for Barker Road to be five lanes north of Appleway, but disagreement over how much land to purchase from neighboring property owners means Barker will be kept to three lanes at the intersection for the time being.
Right of way also was the problem at Pines. Just figuring out the correct owner was confusing in some cases, especially at an adjacent condominium project.
The $5 million project eventually will reconfigure Interstate 90 ramps on the north side of the freeway so they feed only onto Montgomery Drive and Indiana Avenue.
A traffic signal is planned for Mansfield Avenue, which also will be widened.
The $6.1 million project widens and repaves Appleway between Tschirley and Hodges roads, plus adds a pedestrian/bike path.
Fire up the laptop
Spokane Transit Authority buses will offer free wireless Internet access on rides between Spokane and Cheney by early July.
“It’s pretty darn cool,” said STA spokeswoman Molly Myers.
The service will only be available on that route, but may be offered on Liberty Lake and Spokane Valley express buses next year.
In January, a new express route will be offered between Hastings Road, near Whitworth College, and downtown Spokane. It also may have wireless, said Myers.
Parents, enjoy summer
Buy the kiddos an STA summer youth pass and avoid a summer of chauffer duty.
Passes are good June to August and cost $39.95. That’s less than $14 per month.
Youths ages 6 to 18 are eligible (but please don’t send a 6-year-old off on the bus alone).
Idaho law enforcement agencies are on the lookout this week and next for aggressive drivers.
They contribute to more than half of all crashes by speeding, following too closely, ignoring traffic signals and other bad behavior.
Tickets start at $62, so as the Idaho Transportation Department says, “Chill or pay the bill.”
You guys are good.
Washington State Patrol troopers invested 180 hours over two weeks watching for seat belt scofflaws during nighttime hours.
They ticketed 191 people for the violation, with 12 more tickets handed out for child-restraint violations, seven for suspended licenses, 10 for lack of insurance and three for DUI charges.
“We only got just over one an hour,” said Trooper Mark Baker. “If you think about how many cars pass us in an hour in any given location, Spokane drivers are doing very well.”
Have some TACT
The Washington State Patrol wants drivers to behave safely around semitrucks.
Troopers will be conducting their Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) emphasis patrols starting today.
Not surprisingly, when cars and semis collide, cars lose.
Here are keys to avoiding that situation:
•Leave one car length for every 10 mph when merging in front of a truck.
•Keep out of trucks’ blind spots. If you can’t see the windshield or mirrors, they can’t see you.
•Stay out of trucks’ way when they are making turns. They make wide turns, so don’t get between them and the curb on right turns.
Chip seal work
The Washington State Department of Transportation is beginning its summer work to repair Eastern Washington highways.
The work involves compacting oil and gravel on road surfaces.
Drivers need to reduce speed over recently chip-sealed highways. Signs will advise traveling 35 mph to keep gravel disturbance to a minimum.
Over the next 2 1/2 months, crews will work on Highways 21, 23, 25, 28, 231, 902 and 904.
Drivers may experience delays.
Interstate 90 has been reduced to two lanes in each direction in downtown Spokane for the viaduct repair project. Speed limits are reduced.
The only downtown exits remaining open are eastbound Maple/Walnut, eastbound Division (for southbound traffic only), eastbound Hamilton, westbound Second Avenue, westbound Hamilton and westbound Division.
On-ramps remaining open are eastbound Browne, eastbound Hamilton, and westbound Maple.
The Harvard Road on-ramp to westbound I-90 will be closed about four hours Thursday evening.
In Idaho, I-90 is reduced to one lane in each direction from about Mullan Road to Exit 22 at U.S. Highway 97 as crews work on the Blue Creek Bay Bridges.
Work on the intersection of Monroe Street, Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue is causing delays weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Ide is closed from Monroe Street to Cedar Street, with no parking.
Indiana is reduced by two lanes near Ruby Street Tuesday through Thursday.
Strong Road is closed from Rustle to Indian Trail Road.
Mill Road is closed from Fairwood Road to Dartford Drive for sewer work.
Houston Avenue is closed from Cincinnati Street to Nevada Street.
Washington Street is closed from Shannon Avenue to Buckeye Avenue, with the intersection at Buckeye completely closed. Washington is also reduced to one lane in each direction from Boone to Indiana.
Maple Street is closed from Northwest Boulevard to just north of Wellesley Avenue through June.
Sharp/Sinto Avenue is closed from Haven Street to Fiske Street. Fiske Street paving is also under way between Boone and Mission avenues.
29th Avenue is closed from Havana to Glenrose. Detours are in place.
Northbound U.S. Highway 195 is reduced to one lane in several places between Spangle and Hatch Road.
Southeast Boulevard is closed from Perry Street to Third Avenue.
Upriver Drive is closed from near Boulder Beach to a few blocks west of Argonne Road. The Centennial Trail is also closed along the same stretch.
Sixth Avenue is closed from Pines Road to Whipple.
Empire Avenue is closed from Pines Road to Butler Road.
The Deep Creek Road Bridge is closed from west of Brooks Road to three miles east of Highway 2.