The widening project on Interstate 90 from Sullivan to Barker roads is nearing completion this month.
The $19 million project will expand I-90 to three lanes in each direction on that stretch.
For weeks now, vehicles have been squeezed into four lanes on the eastbound side where the new concrete pavement was poured earlier this year.
Now, new concrete for the westbound lanes is in place and the contractor is getting ready to move westbound traffic over it by midweek, weather permitting.
Traffic will remain limited to two lanes in each direction while workers finish construction in the median, said Darrel McCallum, project engineer for the Washington Department of Transportation.
By the end of November, all six lanes should be open to traffic. That segment of freeway carries at least 70,000 vehicles a day.
The contractor is Acme Concrete Paving Inc. of Spokane.
The finishing touches, including permanent lane striping, will be completed next spring.
Plans originally called for finishing the work this year, but the contractor was held up in the spring by wet weather and soggy ground.
McCallum said the contractor will not be penalized, because weather-related delays do not count against the time limit in the contract.
The job is one of three major projects on I-90 in the Spokane area this year.
Overpass bridges were rebuilt over Altamont and Havana streets during the summer at a cost of $1.7 million.
In the third project, construction is winding down for the season on the repair of pavement damaged by studded tires west of downtown to the top of Sunset Hill. That job included resurfacing of the Latah Creek Bridge. The cost there is $11 million.
All lanes and ramps will be reopened and the speed limit will be returned to 60 mph once the work is finished for the year.
A ‘spectacular’ road trip
After last week’s column about U.S. Highway 395 being known as the Three Flags Highway, we received an email from reader Joanne Abey, who recently drove the route to see the sights with her son.
The highway’s name appears on Google maps and traces its history to a 1930s promotional effort.
Here is Abey’s report: “395 is spectacular, but so little known. After leaving the urban areas in Southern Calif. we went through the Mojave Desert, past Mount Whitney and Death Valley, Yosemite, up to Reno. Only once did we see reference to ‘old 395.’
“While still in the Sierras, we stopped at Manzanar (Calif.), the Japanese internment camp from World War Two. It is partly restored and has a wonderful museum. Also, we stopped at Devil’s Postpile and Mono Lake, both unique geological features.
“Oregon proved to be amazingly varied in landscape, and the road was very good with very little traffic. …
“Driving that route really gives one a different perspective of our vast country. You get a new respect for those early settlers and for the natives who survived in this landscape.”
Events to cover construction projects
The city of Spokane has two open houses planned for next week to let residents know about upcoming construction projects.
An event from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Grant Elementary School, 1300 E. Ninth Ave., will cover a project to relocate a water main in Eighth and Ninth avenues from Division to Hatch streets.
An open house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at Lidgerwood Elementary School, 5510 N. Lidgerwood St., will cover a project to rehabilitate Lidgerwood Street from North to Francis avenues.
Traffic updates and a correction
• Bridgeport Avenue from Division to Crestline streets should be reopened to traffic this week.
The plan was to get the job completed by Wednesday.
• Landscaping work on Mission Avenue at the Flora Road roundabout will force lane narrowing from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. through November.
• The new interchange at the North Spokane Corridor and U.S. Highway 2 will open to traffic with a ribbon cutting at 2 p.m. Nov. 16 on the southbound ramp from U.S. 2 to the new freeway.
A news story last week gave the wrong date.