May 2, 2009 in Washington Voices

Pines work reroutes traffic

Expect delays as on-, off-ramps modified
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Motorists will encounter big changes Monday along Pines Road north of Interstate 90.

Expect delays, Spokane Valley city officials warn.

It’s part of a $6.1 million project to relieve congestion in a tangle of intersections that includes Pines Road, Indiana Avenue, Montgomery Avenue, the Union Pacific railroad tracks and I-90.

For starters, the existing westbound freeway on- and off-ramps that connect directly with Pines Road will be closed. Freeway traffic will be routed onto modified ramps that connect with Montgomery Drive and Indiana Avenue.

All westbound off-ramp traffic will be directed to a signal-controlled intersection with Indiana, about 300 feet east of Indiana’s intersection with Pines.

A modified westbound freeway on-ramp will take off from Montgomery, just west of Pines.

The purpose is to eliminate a traffic signal where freeway ramps now connect with Pines. That signal is just 150 feet south of a signal at the intersection of Montgomery, Pines and Indiana.

Beginning Monday, the freeway traffic will be routed through the Montgomery-Pines-Indiana intersection.

That leads to one of the biggest changes motorists will notice: Montgomery Drive will become one-way westbound between Pines and the I-90 on-ramp on Montgomery.

Elimination of two-way traffic in that section of Montgomery is necessary to prevent a bottleneck where westbound freeway on-ramp traffic would have had to cross eastbound traffic on Montgomery.

As a result, eastbound motorists on Montgomery will no longer be able to get to Pines. Eastbound motorists who keep using Montgomery to get to the Spokane Valley Mall will be in for a nasty surprise. They’ll find themselves headed toward downtown Spokane on the freeway.

To avoid that, mall-goers will need to use the new roundabout at the intersection of Montgomery, Mansfield and Wilbur Road. They’ll circle onto Mansfield Avenue to reach Pines, where they’ll turn south to reach Indiana and the mall.

Pines Road motorists who want to go to Spokane must remember to turn west onto Montgomery to reach the I-90 on-ramp.

City officials say there may be some temporary detours as the construction continues. They recommend avoiding the area if possible until the work is finished.

Indiana Avenue’s westbound right-turn lane at Pines Road will be closed starting Monday for up to two weeks because of signal work, officials said. So will the right-turn lane onto Indiana for northbound Pines Road traffic.

During the turn-lane closures, westbound truckers on Indiana who want to go north on Pines are asked to continue west on Montgomery and use the roundabout to get back to Pines via Mansfield.

Northbound truckers on Pines who want to turn east on Indiana are asked to continue north to Mirabeau Parkway, where they can turn right to get back to Indiana.

John Craig may be contacted at johnc@spokesman.com.

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