Construction crews are launching yet another step in the multistage construction of the North Spokane Corridor.
Work will start today on a second roundabout on North Freya Street to handle interchange traffic for the southbound lanes just north of Francis Avenue.
Vehicles exiting the freeway will arrive at the roundabout so they can get onto Freya without having to go through a traffic light.
An existing roundabout currently serves the two-way traffic from Freya to U.S. Highway 2 on the northbound lanes of the partially completed freeway.
Plans are to finish the southbound lanes this construction season and open the corridor to the divided lane configuration later this year.
The second roundabout has to be in place prior to the opening of the separated southbound lanes.
Within the next several weeks, crews are expected to finish work on the segment from U.S. 2 to Wandermere where a pair of flyover bridges will connect the north-south freeway to the existing U.S. 395.
When that segment opens, the new freeway will carry traffic nonstop for 5.5 miles from Wandermere nearly to Francis Avenue, more than half of the 10.5-mile length of the planned corridor.
Work to extend the freeway south of Francis takes another step with construction later this year on a new overpass bridge for Francis.
Bids are being advertised for the project to begin in July. It will include work on adjacent streets.
During bridge construction, traffic will be routed onto a temporary grade crossing over BNSF Railway lines. The new, longer bridge should be finished in 2013.
Transportation officials are also seeking additional money for work in the Hillyard area through a federal grant program. The North Spokane Corridor is one of three grant requests submitted by the state for the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (Tiger) funds.
Beyond that, funding has not been identified for extending the freeway to Interstate 90.
“We are certainly hoping additional funding will come along,” said Al Gilson, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation in Spokane.
Elected officials and business leaders have made the North Spokane Corridor a top priority and have been pushing its funding in Washington, D.C.
Freeway spending so far totals about $600 million, with $470 million coming from state sources. Another $1.3 billion would be needed to get the freeway to I-90, a project that includes a newly designed I-90 and feeder lanes through East Spokane.
Sprague work begins
Sprague Avenue from Evergreen to Sullivan Road will be under reconstruction starting today through the middle of August.
Crews are going to stage the work in phases starting with the north side of Sprague between Sullivan and the 14900 block of East Sprague.
That should be completed in June, to be followed by work on the south side of Sprague in the same section.
The third phase will be on the north side of the section from the 14900 block of East Sprague to Evergreen to be followed by the final phase on the south side of Sprague in that section.
Construction will force lane and intersection restrictions or closures.
For more information go to spokanevalley.org and follow links to public works construction projects.
I-90 will close at pass
I-90 on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass is going to be closed for an hour on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for blasting work under a multiyear widening project east of Hyak.
The closures will be at 7:30 p.m. on both nights.
In addition, concrete rehabilitation near Easton will result in daytime lane restrictions this week.
After Memorial Day, work near Easton will switch to a night schedule to allow more summer traffic to get through the area.
Also, repair work on a bridge near North Bend on the west side of the pass will result in lane restrictions for the next two months.
Bike to Work Week
This is Bike to Work Week in Spokane. Drivers should be ready to encounter more bicycle riders than normal. As always, share the road.
A kickoff breakfast of coffee and pancakes is planned for 7 a.m. in Riverfront Park today with appearances by Mayor David Condon, City Council President Ben Stuckart and Councilman Jon Snyder.
Energizer stations will be on bike routes during the week and a wrap-up party is set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Steam Plant Grill in downtown Spokane.
For more information or to register, go to spokanebikes.net.
Highway 20 restrictions
State Highway 20 north of Cusick will have a temporary signal and lowered speed limits to guide traffic through a project to build a pedestrian tunnel at Riverview Bible Camp. The speed limit is 25 mph.