Corridor leg opens in August
The Washington state Department of Transportation will open the first segment of a new north Spokane freeway this summer at the same time that one of the largest contracts in the multiyear project is about to start.
A ribbon-cutting is planned for 1 p.m. on Aug. 22 at a segment of freeway extending from Freya Street just north of Francis Avenue to Farwell Road, a distance of more than three miles.
The opening will arrive exactly eight years after ground was broken for the multimillion-dollar freeway project and will include a Volkswalk, classic car parade and comments by dignitaries. The route will open to traffic later in the afternoon.
It will initially be a two-lane, 60 mph highway capable of being expanded to six lanes when the full, limited-access freeway from Interstate 90 to Wandermere is completed.
At the same time, the Washington State Department of Transportation is seeking bids on the largest contract so far in the freeway’s construction to extend the lanes to the northwest from the vicinity of Farwell Road and U.S. Highway 2 to an interchange at Wandermere.
The bidding involves construction of two bridges and the final grading and road building for the four-lane segment. Earthwork has already been completed.
The estimated $60 million contract will lead to opening of an additional two miles of roadway, creating a 5 1/2-mile segment from Francis Avenue to Wandermere. That opening is expected in the fall of 2011.
Another piece of the job to build interchange bridges at U.S. 2 is under way, too.
Sprague work expands
Work along Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley is expanding to the intersection of Sprague and McDonald Road today at 7 a.m.
McDonald will be closed to northbound and southbound through traffic. A detour has been set up for Evergreen Road, Broadway Avenue and Fourth Avenue. Businesses will be kept open during the work on concrete pavement for the intersection.
The McDonald intersection job should end in the first week of August, after which crews will move to resurfacing the intersection at Sprague and Evergreen.
Construction work has been under way at Sprague and Pines Road. That work is nearly completed.
In addition, resurfacing on Sprague between University and Evergreen roads is expected to start in mid-July.
Workshops on trails
Trail development in Ferry, Pend Oreille and Stevens counties will be the subject of a series of workshops this week.
The three workshops are from 6 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday at Ione Community Center, Thursday at the Ag Trade Center on the Northeast Washington Fairgrounds in Colville and Friday at Curlew Civic Hall.
Professor Sean E. Michael, an expert in trail development from the Utah State University, will give presentations. The workshops are sponsored by the Northeast Washington Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
Shuttles for Hoopfest
Spokane Transit Authority will continue its two popular Hoopfest shuttle services from the STA Jefferson Street Park and Ride lot and from parking lots on the WSU Riverpoint campus on Saturday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Riverpoint loop will not serve Gonzaga University lots like it did last year.
In addition, STA Plaza service will be interrupted, and buses will board along Howard Street and Second and Third avenues.
Bike week numbers up
Spokane’s Bike to Work Week, May 10 through 16, drew a total of 1,472 commuters, up from the 952 who registered in 2008.