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Motorcycle license endorsements accelerating

Mon., Aug. 4, 2008

If you think there are more motorcycles and scooters on the roads, you’re right. Washington and Idaho transportation officials say driver’s license endorsements for two-wheeled vehicles have skyrocketed in the last year and a half. “We are trying to figure out how much gas has played into it,” said Steve Stewart, manager of the Washington Department of Licensing’s motorcycle safety program.

Despite the increased number of motorcycles on the road, officials say fatalities are down in both states.

Motorcycle endorsements in Washington have increased 10 percent in the past 18 months, Stewart said. “We have grown more during the last year than the previous two years,” he said.

In Spokane County, there was a 12 percent increase in the number of endorsements, Stewart said. In Idaho, endorsements increased 10 percent in 2007, but data for the first half of this year is not available.

“I guess everybody just intuitively thinks the number of motorcycles and scooters on the road is increasing, and they may be, but we just don’t have the data yet,” said Steve Grant, Idaho Department of Transportation communications specialist.

In regard to motorcycle fatalities, Washington dropped 17 percent in 2007, officials said. So far this year, the state is on track for another drop.

In Idaho there were 29 motorcycle fatalities in 2007, nine fewer than the previous year, Grant said.

Highway 2 work

Construction has begun on the Highway 2 Deep Creek Bridge, west of Airway Heights.

The $505,000 state Department of Transportation project involves replacing the bridge railing and asphalt surface.

Traffic will be reduced to a single lane with flaggers. The speed limit is reduced to 30 mph, and trucks wider than 11 feet will be detoured.

Construction is expected to wrap up in October.

I-90 ramps closed

The westbound Second Avenue and Hamilton Street Interstate 90 off-ramps will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday. Motorists should use the westbound off-ramp at Altamont.

The westbound Altamont Street on-ramp will be closed during the same period, said Al Gilson, spokesman for state Department of Transportation.

Slow going

Downtown Spokane

Spokane Falls Boulevard will be closed from Washington to Browne streets today for repaving.

North Spokane

•Driscoll Boulevard from Alberta to Assembly streets will be closed this week.

•Maple Street is closed from the bridge to Northwest Boulevard, with Northwest Boulevard reduced to one lane from Walnut to Oak streets.

•Belt Street is closed between Augusta and Montgomery avenues.

•Nighttime traffic on Division Street may be affected from North Foothills Drive to Houston Avenue while crews install fiber-optic cable.

•Freya Street is reduced to one lane in each direction from Alki to Springfield avenues.

•Hamilton Street will have intermittent lane closures from Sharp Avenue to North Foothills Drive.

•Denison-Chattaroy Road is closed from Highway 2 to North Road.

South Spokane

Third Avenue from Magnolia to Ray streets, Fourth Avenue from Magnolia to Regal streets, Crestline from Third to Fifth avenues, and Magnolia and Regal from Third to Fifth avenues are under construction.

Idaho – Prairie Avenue

Lakes and Post Falls highway districts will close Prairie Avenue from Huetter Road to Ramsey Road on Tuesday and Wednesday for chip seal operations. Work starts Tuesday morning, weather permitting, and lasts all day, officials said. Watch for lane restrictions, detours, flaggers and expect long delays. To avoid the construction use Hayden Avenue from Highway 95 to Highway 41. Use Highway 95 or Meyer Road for north/south travel.

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