Drivers in southeast Spokane are already running into jammed traffic trying to get off the hills along Freya and Ray streets because of a two-day closure on 11th Avenue at Thor Street for a water main project.
A line of headlights was visible in the northbound lane to the top of the Freya hill during the peak commute after 7 a.m. today. The Freya hill is the closest detour around the construction on the main Thor-Ray arterial up the South Hill in southeast Spokane.
The closure of Thor at 11th continues through Friday afternoon, city officials said. They hope to have Thor reopened by the afternoon commute Friday.
During the closure, much of the area traffic will be forced to funnel on and off the South Hill on Freya Street, a two-lane arterial served by a three-way stop sign at Freya and Hartson, which can become a bottleneck.
While Freya is the closest detour, drivers headed toward downtown during peak commute times might consider diverting along 17th or 29th avenues to Southeast Boulevard. Other potential routes off the South Hill are Grand Boulevard or Bernard Street.
For access to and from Interstate 90, Glenrose and Carnahan roads to the east, by way of Eighth Avenue and Havana Street, may provide another option.
The stop sign at Freya and Hartson frequently backs up during peak commute hours without any road closures, and is likely to see longer backups with the temporary closure of the busier Thor-Ray corridor for nearly two days.
The closure is due to a $3.5 million water main project that started in July and is expected to continue into December from Sherman Street east to Havana Street. During the work, streets around the project have been closed.
Closures of other streets including Freya are expected as work moves eastward.
Map: Alternate routes around Thor Street closure
Alternate routes are marked in blue.
View Getting around the Thor Street closure in a larger map