Starting tonight, blasting work for a major expansion of Interstate 90 at Snoqualmie Pass will close the freeway in both directions for up to an hour at least twice a week.
I-90 will be expanded from four lanes to six lanes on the east side of the pass.
The work, which will remove large quantities of rock to make room for the lanes, is planned on Mondays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. from now until October, said Bob Hooker, project engineer with the state.
“The nice part about doing it in the evening is the traffic counts drop way off,” Hooker said.
Even so, the stoppage could create backups a mile or two long, he said.
The closures will be from Hyak at milepost 54 to the Price Creek snow park at milepost 61. Closures are also possible on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but plans call for limiting it to Mondays and Thursdays for now.
The $571 million job involves construction of a new six-lane bridge and freeway lanes, rock slope stabilization, extended chain-up areas, straightened curves and a new snow shed to protect against avalanches.
The current $76 million contract with Max J. Kuney Construction Co., of Spokane, is the second stage of construction.
Preliminary work on the project began last year with installation of a detour bridge at Gold Creek with two lanes in each direction.
The Kuney job involves three miles of freeway and will add one lane in each direction plus other improvements. The contract should be finished in 2012, but the larger project is planned through 2015.
Another contract will be awarded this fall for work on two more miles of the freeway expansion, including a new snow shed, and could be worth more than $200 million.
Paving work is also under way between the pass and Cle Elum.
For information, go to www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/i90/. Sign up for e-mail there.
Also, the Washington State Department of Transportation’s main Web page at www.wsdot.wa.gov has updates under the mountain passes section.
The phone line for information is (888) 535-0738.
Instant updates by automated directory are available by calling 511.
Spokane street projects begin
Two big street jobs in the city of Spokane start today: Wellesley Avenue from Maple to Division streets and Thurston Avenue from Arthur to Crestline streets, plus adjoining residential streets.
Work started last week on Nelson Street from Marshall to Mission avenues and surrounding residential streets.
The streets will be closed to traffic during the work, although local accesses will be maintained.
In all, more than $4.6 million is being spent on those projects as part of a $117 million, 10-year street bond issue approved by voters in 2004.
Keller Ferry out of service
The Keller Ferry vessel, the Martha S., is being taken out of service starting today for maintenance and repair work as well as a Coast Guard inspection.
Dakota Creek Industries of Anacortes is the prime contractor on a $607,000 job that involves work on the hull, auto deck and access hatches.
The ferry should return to service no later than July 16. Until then, drivers on state Highway 21 north of Wilbur will need to find other routes across Lake Roosevelt.
Division, U.S. 395 lanes reduced
Grinding, paving and sidewalk work on Division Street and U.S. Highway 395 from the Y to Stevens County will cause lane restrictions from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., Mondays through Fridays.
In addition, the highway between Wandermere Road and the north end of the Little Spokane River Bridge continues to carry just one lane of traffic in each direction due to construction of an interchange for the new north Spokane freeway.
•Spokane County reports that it has work under way on Valley Chapel Road for realignment of road grade.
•The Appleway Bridge at Stateline is now closed for reconstruction. The job is expected to take two years.