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Getting There: Construction season off to busy start

Mon., May 5, 2008

Traveling west, east and south of the Lake City is about to get trickier as crews kick off road construction season.

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin preparations today to repave the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Coeur d’Alene to the state line.

“Motorists should expect to see work to repair bridge decks and miscellaneous work” in advance of the repaving project’s May 14 start date, ITD spokeswoman Barbara Babic said.

At that time, lane restrictions will be put in place as crews start “roto-milling,” or grinding the top layer of concrete, so the new layer of pavement will join with the old. That paving will start on June 8 and should be completed by early July, Babic said.

“There will be lane restrictions and a reduced speed limit,” she said. “The eastbound lanes are already done. It’s just the westbound lanes.”

North Idaho residents heading south will find the same activities five miles north of Worley on U.S. Highway 95.

Crews are working their second season to reconstruct and realign the highway.

“Beware of reduced speed limits. And occasionally, we have heavy equipment moving around the site,” Babic said. “There are no lane restrictions at this time.”

And to the east, crews continue to reconstruct the Ninth Street overpass, which was damaged when it was struck by a too-tall semi trailer.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, crews will shut down I-90’s east and west lanes as they take out the old bridge spans. Traffic will be detoured off the freeway from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Friday “will be the last night of bridge demolition. Then they will start placing the girders,” Babic said. “If they are doing night work, then the detours will be in place.”

Once they start to work on the bridge decking, crews will work during the day, shutting down one lane of traffic. Those lane restrictions will end sometime in July, Babic said.

More Spokane closures coming

Crews will keep Hemlock Avenue closed near its intersection with Northwest Boulevard through Wednesday as they work on the sewer line, streets spokeswoman Ann Deasy said.

Spokane Police are managing traffic congestion as the result of closures and work on Ash and Wall streets.

Spokane Police Officer Teresa Fuller said she wanted to remind motorists that side streets around the construction zones don’t have the same speed limits or rules as arterials.

“We’ve had a lot of citizen complaints. When they close a main street like Wall, we see motorists jutting down residential streets,” Fuller said. “That’s where some of our worst collisions are occurring because they don’t yield to the person on the right.”

Residential streets have 25 mph speed limits unless otherwise posted, she said. Drivers are required to slow down at every intersection.

“According to state law, when two vehicles approach an intersection at relatively the same time, the person on the right has the right of way,” she said.

Fuller recommended that neighbors call the patrol’s Traffic Hotline, 625-4150, to report speeders in residential zones. Those calls are then passed on to officers who “head out to the respective locations to do their patrols,” Fuller said.

In addition to the Ash and Wall work, commuters should be aware of lane closures and obstructions on Greene Street from Carlisle to Garland avenues as crews grind and patch pavement.

Another closure will occur all week on Austin Road from Quamish Drive to Strong Road so crews can extend the main sewer line and water taps for homes on the east side of the street, Deasy said.

Some lanes will be closed on Holland Avenue from U.S. Highway 2 to Nevada Street this week as crews seal cracks in the roadway.

Another bridge out

Starting today, crews south of Spokane will close Valley Chapel Road just north of Spangle Creek Road to replace an old bridge, Spokane County construction engineer Paul Lennemann said. Valley Chapel will not reopen until October.

Several other county projects will either close roads or affect traffic, he said.

“We are looking to start up work on the bridge on Little Spokane Drive at Golden Road,” Lennemann said. “We put the bridge in last year but we need to finish up the roadwork that didn’t get done last year.”

Denison Chattaroy Road will remain closed for the rest of construction season as crews work to straighten, widen and resurface the roadway between Highway 2 to North Road.

And very soon, crews will close Cheney-Plaza Road south of Cheney to fix the bridge railing on the span over Fish Lake trail.

“That will be a three- to four-week closure,” Lennemann said.

Spokane Valley closures

Crews continue to work on Appleway Avenue at Barker Road. As a result, traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction for the duration of the project, which will continue through September.

Starting today, Barker Road will be closed at Appleway through Thursday so crews can install sewer mains, Spokane Valley spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch said in a press release. Signs will direct traffic to detours around the closure.

Also this week, crews will shut down one westbound lane of Sprague Avenue at Pines Road to work on drywells, Branch said.

Don’t tread on me

Officials want to remind political campaigns that the state has strict rules about where campaign signs can be placed along roads.

It is illegal to post campaign signs on state highway rights of way, said Pat O’Leary, of the Washington state Department of Transportation.

Sign posters must get permission from property owners to place signs that can be seen from a road. The signs cannot be bigger than 32 square feet and they must be removed within 10 days after the election.

However, it’s not always clear where state rights of way begin and end. Utility poles are typically located inside the right of way, she said.

“If a sign location is being considered between a utility pole and a roadway shoulder, it’s likely the sign will be removed” by state crews, O’Leary said in a press release.

To ensure proper placement of signs, campaigners can contact regional WSDOT offices for right-of-way boundaries. The local number is (509) 324-6549.


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