May 18, 2009 in City

Rut repair on I-90 begins today

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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The rutted pavement on Interstate 90 through east Spokane is getting fixed starting tonight.

The Washington state Department of Transportation doesn’t believe the work will cause major inconvenience to drivers.

The work is being done at night, and all lanes will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The speed limit is being reduced to 50 mph through the construction zone, from the Division Street interchange to the improved lanes east of Havana Street.

“Commuter traffic should not have a problem,” said Al Gilson, spokesman for the DOT in Spokane.

However, he acknowledged there could be some slowdowns during peak travel periods.

At night, crews will grind and repave lanes as well as on- and off-ramps from Geiger Boulevard east to Sullivan Road.

The westbound off-ramp for U.S. Highway 2 going to the airport and Airway Heights will have at least one lane open during night and early morning work, also at a reduced speed.

The freeway will remain open to traffic during nighttime hours, but segments of lanes and individual ramps will be closed as crews move through the project.

DOT officials urge motorists to be careful through the construction area and be alert to sharp lane edges and grooved pavement during daytime hours when the lanes are open to traffic, Gilson said in a press release.

The freeway resurfacing from Division to the Hamilton Street interchange will involve grinding and planing the existing pavement to remove ruts.

The segment from Hamilton Street to the pedestrian overpass at Custer Street dates back to original freeway construction in 1957. It was last ground to remove ruts in 1994. This time, crews will fill the ruts with an initial layer of asphalt and press the asphalt into the ruts with a rubber-tire roller. They will then go back over the entire width of the lanes with a second layer.

Concrete gutters along the lanes in east Spokane also will be removed.

The ruts are caused by studded tires in winter, DOT officials have said, and have become a safety concern. The ruts hold water in rainstorms and also create a risk of skidding when it is icy because the road surface is uneven.

State officials acknowledged that the asphalt surface will be even more susceptible to rutting from studded tires than the existing concrete surface has been, and that another resurfacing will likely be needed in coming years. The freeway in that area carries 100,000 vehicles a day.

The rut-repair portion of the work should be finished by late July, with the rest of the work to be completed by early September. A quarter-mile section of roadway near Flora Road and several adjacent city streets also will be repaved.

Inland Asphalt Co., of Spokane, won the contract on the $8 million project, and the job is expected to employ 80 workers.

Motorists can get daily updates by tuning to AM 530 while in the vicinity of the construction.

Work on hold for holiday

Most of the construction work on state highway projects will be suspended at noon Friday to allow for heavier traffic expected for Memorial Day weekend.

Bridge work begins today

Another state project on I-90 that begins today involves repair and resurfacing of two bridges over the Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road just west of the Cheney interchange. Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction while the contractor works.

Input sought on bike plan

The Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization is seeking public input Tuesday to identify improvements for bike and pedestrian routes. The workshop will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Q’emiln Park in Post Falls.

The information from the workshop will be used to develop a regional plan for nonmotorized transportation. Improvements might include pathways, sidewalks and bicycle parking.

Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP at (800) 698-1927 or kmpo@kmpo.net.

Riding club honored

The Fat Tire Trail Riders Club in Spokane has received a 2009 citation of merit award from the Washington Recreation and Park Association for its work in creating a safe and legal mountain biking area in the Camp Sekani conservation land owned by the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department, according to the parks department.

The club built a mountain-bike skill park; removed unsafe and unauthorized bike jumps and ramps; built a series of jumps and ramps that meet safety standards; helped clean the area; obtained grants for a master plan and trail markers; and worked with surrounding property owners at Beacon Hill.

The trail riders club has “made a lasting impact on this area which will be utilized and recognized for decades to come,” Mike Aho, a city parks recreation supervisor, said in a news release.

Rail connection study

Students from Washington State University-Spokane and Eastern Washington University are studying a possible rail line linking Spokane, Pullman and Moscow, according to the Associated Press.

WSU’s landscape architecture students are conducting surveys, and EWU students are preparing a market analysis. A public presentation is scheduled for May 26 in Rosalia.

Contact Mike Prager at mikep@spokesman.com or (509) 459-5454.


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