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MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2011

Getting There: Repairs to squeeze I-90 commutes

Work on overpasses closes, narrows lanes

If you think the construction backups on Interstate 90 in Spokane have been bad so far this year, just wait until next month.

On July 11, yet another freeway construction project will get started, this time to repair overpasses at Altamont and Havana streets.

To accomplish the work, the freeway is being squeezed down to two narrow lanes in each direction during the day and a single lane in each direction at night. The project will last until Aug. 4.

Seven ramps through the construction zone will be closed. They are at Altamont, Thor, Freya and Havana streets and Fancher Way.

Signs announcing the project go up today.

Al Gilson, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said drivers might want to consider finding alternate routes such as East Sprague and East Trent avenues.

“Be prepared for congestion,” he said. “Add time to your travels.”

For years now, eastbound freeway traffic has slowed to a crawl on many afternoons during the summer. A construction zone that forces drivers to merge into two lanes is sure to cause traffic jams.

“It’s going to slow down traffic morning and evening no matter what we do,” Gilson said.

Westway Construction of Medical Lake has been given incentives to finish the work early, and work will occur during the day and at night.

The bridge decks will be stripped of existing pavement, repaired and resurfaced with concrete and a top layer of asphalt pavement at a cost of $941,000. The work will be performed in stages.

The construction work comes at the same time that bridge and pavement repairs are causing slowdowns on I-90 from Maple Street to Geiger Boulevard.

Holiday travel will dip

Independence Day travel across the country is going to decline by 2.5 percent, according to AAA.

A pre-holiday survey commissioned by AAA found that more drivers are staying home because of the high cost of gasoline.

Last year, an estimated 40 million Americans traveled 50 or more miles from home, including 33.7 million by vehicle.

Those numbers are expected to dip to 39 million travelers, with 32.8 million in automobiles.

Just over 3 million people will travel by air, up from 2.75 million last year.

Anti-impaired driving effort

Law enforcement officers in Spokane and Pend Oreille counties are undertaking an impaired driving enforcement campaign through next Monday.

The enforcement effort is made possible through a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. Traffic deaths involving impaired drivers are greatest during summer months, officials said.

Pedestrian plan open house

An open house to gather input on a Spokane pedestrian plan update is scheduled for Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Northeast Youth Center, 3004 E. Queen Ave.

The city is seeking to increase pedestrian access and safety by finding areas in need of sidewalks and other improvements. The work will focus on neighborhood areas with schools, parks, shopping and bus lines.

Future grant money can be directed to the areas in greatest need.

Hatch Road repair finished

A Spokane city project to repair Hatch Road from 43rd to 57th avenues has been completed, and the street is now open to traffic.

Spokane Falls Boulevard through the University District was scheduled to reopen late last week after work to build an intersection linking the district to a new Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Grand Boulevard from 37th Avenue to High Drive is going to be paved this week and should reopen to traffic by Friday.

Mission-Flora, Mullan work

In Spokane Valley, the intersection of Mission Avenue at Flora Road will be closed through late July for road construction.

Northbound Mullan Road over I-90 will be reduced to one lane today through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. until about 3:30 p.m. for bridge deck repair work.

Blasting will close I-90

I-90 rock blasting work east of Snoqualmie Pass is planned for Monday through Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. each evening. Freeway traffic will be stopped during the blasting.



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