May 14, 2007 in City

No rush? Then you’re in luck

By The Spokesman-Review
 

You were all so good in 2006. Let’s keep it that way this year as work gets under way today on the downtown Spokane Interstate 90 viaduct.

Last year’s Washington State Department of Transportation project took care of one half of the viaduct. The next four months will finish the other half.

The key things for drivers to remember include:

The speed limit is 45 mph in the construction zone.

Traffic is reduced to two lanes in each direction (sometimes one lane in each direction at night), with no shoulders. No lane changes where lines are painted solid white.

Closed westbound ramps are the Browne Street on-ramp, Lincoln Street exit, Monroe/Jefferson on-ramp and the Maple Street exit.

Closed eastbound ramps include the Walnut Street on-ramp and the Monroe Street on-ramp. The eastbound Division Street exit will be open, but traffic won’t be able to access northbound Division.

Alternate routes are encouraged for traffic headed to and from downtown Spokane.

Motorists should also anticipate congestion on downtown surface streets.

The work will repair deep ruts in the viaduct as well as joints that hold the roadway in place.

Save your energy

Anyone thinking of participating in an Internet-touted gas boycott Tuesday might want to reconsider.

Claims that such a mass “gas out” will impact prices, including one Craigslist blurb trumpeting a 30-cent price drop after a similar 1997 protest, are simply false.

“That’s ridiculous,” said Dave Overstreet, spokesman for AAA Washington/Inland. “It’s a waste of time. It doesn’t do anything,” Overstreet said of such boycotts.

The driving forces behind high gas prices are low supplies at gas refineries and continuing high demand.

Demand is up 2 percent over a year ago, he said.

Motorists can reduce demand by driving less or by buying more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Motorcycles

Increasing motorcycle use and a corresponding increase in motorcycle deaths and injuries have prompted Washington state to push cyclists to get the proper motorcycle endorsement.

A new campaign called “Endorse Your Sport” was launched earlier this month to encourage riders to get the training they need to ride safely.

Between 1997 and 2004, the number of motorcycle fatalities each year more than doubled. One-third of those killed did not have valid motorcycle driver’s license endorsement.

More information is available at www.endorseyoursport.com.

Cya, drive-by texting

As of January, text messaging while driving will be illegal in Washington.

Come July 2008, the same goes for talking on a cell phone behind the wheel unless the driver is using a hands-free device.

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed both measures into law last week.

But don’t worry. It’s still legal to put on makeup, shave, floss, eat a dripping cheeseburger and make goo-goo eyes at fellow motorists while you drive.

New requirement

Apparently, Washington driver’s licenses are highly coveted by out-of-staters.

The Department of Licensing is requiring proof of Washington residency in addition to proof of identity to get a first-time driver’s license, instruction permit or ID card.

So bring along a utility bill dated within 60 days of your license application, a Washington voter registration card or other Washington ID card when you head to the DMV.

Open house

Learn more about several upcoming Spokane Valley projects at a joint city/Washington State Department of Transportation open house this week.

All three projects planned for this construction season will have significant traffic impacts.

They include resurfacing Sullivan Road from Mission Avenue to Indiana Avenue, widening and resurfacing Appleway Avenue from Tschirley Road to Hodges Road, and reconfiguring Pines Road near Interstate 90.

The open house is Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at CenterPlace, 2426 N. Discovery Place, Spokane Valley.

Slow going

I-90

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. The speed limit has been reduced to 55 mph and vehicle widths are limited to 14 feet.

North Spokane

Maple Street is closed from Northwest Boulevard to just north of Wellesley Avenue through June. Wellesley is reduced to one lane in each direction at Ash Street and Maple Street.

Garland is closed between Ash and Maple.

Sharp/Sinto Avenue is closed from Haven to Fiske. Fiske Street paving is also under way between Boone and Mission avenues.

Strong Road is closed from Rustle to Indian Trail Road through June 15.

Freya Street is closed from Market to Gerlach Road. Magnesium Road is closed from Crestline to Market.

South Spokane

29th Avenue will be one lane in each direction between Southeast Boulevard and Freya Street through May while a water main is installed and the roadway is repaved. The street is closed between Ray and Freya.

Northbound U.S. Highway 195 is reduced to one lane in several places between Spangle and Hatch Road.

Spokane Valley

Fourth Avenue is closed from Hodges to Barker through Wednesday.

Twelfth Avenue is closed between Evergreen and Blake.

North Idaho

Government Way is under construction in Hayden between Honeysuckle and Wyoming.


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