May 12, 2008 in City

Getting there: Division Street to partially shut down

Thomas Clouse Staff writer
 

If the construction projects on Wall and Ash streets haven’t caused enough congestion, another project has arrived to further complicate the North Side commute by reducing lanes on Division Street.

Starting Sunday, crews began to install a new fiber optic communications line from North Foothills Drive to near Francis Avenue, according to Al Gilson of the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“It is likely that this work will result in some additional slow traffic and congestion,” Gilson said in a news release. “This installation will allow the City of Spokane and WSDOT to install more traffic cameras along Division Street and provide (a) connection to cameras along the new North Spokane Corridor.”

The project will close one or more lanes of northbound Division, which handles about 40,000 vehicles a day. From 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. this week, northbound Division will be reduced to two lanes in the vicinity of the work.

In addition, northbound Division will be reduced to one lane between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m., Gilson said. During the weekends all lanes will be open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., he said.

The first task will be to remove portions of the sidewalk and install the cable vaults every few blocks, he said.

The $1.25 million project should be completed by early August. That means the work on Division will likely coincide with the closure of Maple Street, another major northbound arterial.

“The contractor will advise businesses in advance of work in their vicinity, and every effort will be made to provide the least amount of traffic interruption to business locations,” Gilson said.

Pedal from problems

If construction makes you want to park the car and jump on the bike, you are not alone.

About 700 people have registered to participate in Bike to Work Week, which begins today with a kickoff breakfast in Riverfront Park and runs through Friday, when organizers will hold a wrap-up party at Steam Plant Grill.

Participants have pledged to bike to work at least one day during the week, including one person who logged a 40-mile one-way ride. Those who work from home can use their bikes to run errands, said Barb Chamberlain, who is a bike commuter and chairwoman of the volunteer committee that organized the events.

For more information, visit the event Web site at www.biketoworkspokane.org.

Bridge project nears

Work will begin soon to replace Spokane Valley’s Barker Road Bridge over the Spokane River. The $10 million project is slated to start next month and could last up to two years.

“It will be good to finally get it started,” senior engineer Ken Knutson said in a news release.

Officials have sent nearby residents and businesses notices about the bridge project and planned closure. The mailer also suggested detour routes.

Keeping part of the bridge open during construction was considered, but officials decided against the idea because it would have extended the construction time and added costs, Spokane Valley spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch said.

The new bridge will be about 36 feet wider and will include bike lanes and larger sidewalks. It will reduce the number of support piers in the Spokane River from five to two, she said.

The city worked with the Spokane Canoe & Kayak Club and the Friends of the Centennial Trail during the design phase. The new plans call for parking on the north side of the bridge.

“That will be a bonus for recreational uses,” Knutson said.

More Valley road work

Barker Road will be closed this week both north and south of the Appleway Avenue intersection while sewers are installed, Branch said. Appleway will be restricted to one lane in each direction as reconstruction continues through September.

To the west, crews will start later this summer to fix the severely rutted surface of the Broadway Avenue and Fancher Way intersection, Branch said.

The project should start in August and run through early September, Branch said.

I-90 work to start

Work is scheduled to begin this week on the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 from Sherman Avenue in Coeur d’Alene to the Washington state line, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

Starting Wednesday, crews will start grinding the top layer of concrete off the roadway so the new layer of pavement will join the old. That paving will start June 8 and should go until early July, ITD spokeswoman Barbara Babic said.

“There will be lane restrictions and a reduced speed limit,” she said. “The eastbound lanes are already done.”

Work continues on U.S. 95 near Worley. To the east of the Lake City, the Ninth Street Overpass remains closed as crews replace the bridge damaged by a semi trailer.

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