July 4, 2011 in City

Intersection at U.S. 195 to get safety upgrade

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Drivers in southwest Spokane are getting something that will improve safety on U.S. Highway 195, the main route to Pullman.

The state Legislature approved $12.5 million for a freeway interchange at Cheney-Spokane Road, the site of numerous accidents over the years.

Construction will begin in 2012, said Keith Metcalf, regional administrator for the state Department of Transportation.

Funding for the project came during the latter stages of legislative budget writing in May.

“This one additional project we got, we are very fortunate,” Metcalf told the Washington Transportation Commission during a meeting in Cheney last month.

Concern about the intersection was heightened in 2009 after the death of 16-year-old Lorissa Green, who was struck attempting to turn north onto U.S. 195 from Cheney-Spokane Road. She was leaving her mother’s child care center.

An improved exit lane was built two years ago for southbound traffic at Cheney-Spokane Road.

Metcalf and the DOT had hoped for a partial interchange in the state’s new biennial budget, but they ended up with enough money to build a full interchange handling both northbound and southbound traffic.

Delays on I-90

DOT officials are hoping that drivers will take alternate routes starting a week from today when Interstate 90 is reduced to two lanes in each direction from Altamont to Havana streets.

Work is set to begin on rehabilitation of the overpass bridges at both interchanges. Because traffic is especially heavy on I-90 during summer, DOT officials said drivers will encounter backups and be forced to slow down through the construction zone.

Seven on-ramps and off-ramps also will be closed during the job, expected to last until early August.

More trail parking

S-R outdoor writer Rich Landers reported last week that a new 12-vehicle parking lot and trailhead for the Spokane River Centennial Trail opened Friday east of Argonne Road at the end of Maringo Drive.

Funding for the parking area came from the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, Friends of the Centennial Trail, Washington State Park Foundation and Inland Empire Paper Co.

“This much-needed parking lot will enable trail users to avoid parking in a residential area,” Landers reported on his Spokesman.com blog.

Pedestrian plan

Spokane Valley officials are asking for public input on an effort to write a new bike and pedestrian master plan.

They will host a public hearing at 6 p.m. Thursday at Spokane Valley City Hall, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.

The plan will guide development of walkways and paths in the city.

Wellesley closure

Construction begins today to rebuild Wellesley Avenue from Ash to Milton streets in the vicinity of Shadle Park Shopping Center.

Access to the center will be limited to Alberta and Belt streets.

The city library and pool at the park will continue to have access from Wellesley. Otherwise, motorists are advised to use Rowan or Garland avenues as detours.

Signing off

Westbound I-90 near Altamont Street will be reduced to two lanes for removal of a variable message board from 7 p.m. Thursday until about 5 a.m. Friday. In addition, the westbound on-ramp at Thor and Freya streets will be closed, and Second Avenue will be restricted.

A new sign was recently installed just east of Havana Street.

USDOT numbers

The Washington State Patrol is reminding business owners who use a truck or truck-and-trailer combination that’s rated between 16,001 and 26,000 pounds that they have until June 30, 2012, to obtain and display a U.S. Department of Transportation number.

Failure to obtain and display a USDOT number could result in a ticket and fine of several thousand dollars.

“This is a new requirement for landscaping, construction, and many other types of businesses that have never needed DOT numbers before,” WSP Chief John Batiste said in a news release. “That’s why they have a year to obtain their USDOT number and also to ensure their drivers and trucks are operating safely.”

To obtain a free USDOT number, go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website, fmcsa.dot.gov; call the WSP’s Commercial Vehicle Division Office at (360) 596-3800 and request an application; or go to the Commercial Vehicle Division’s website at wsp.wa.gov/traveler/ cvd.htm.

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