April 1, 2013 in City

Getting There: Farwell, Bruce roads to close for summer projects

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Two well-traveled routes in northeast Spokane County will be closed to traffic this construction season for major work.

Farwell Road from the North Spokane Corridor to Market Street is being widened to urban standards starting at the end of this month and continuing into the fall.

And Bruce Road will be closed in Peone Prairie for replacement of the bridge over Peone Creek starting in mid-May. Completion is expected in late autumn.

The two closures will inconvenience drivers who frequent those routes.

“People are going to need to plan ahead,” said Paul Lenneman, Spokane County construction engineer.

Farwell Road east of the corridor is an old country-style road with narrow shoulders, deteriorating pavement and a high crown in the center. The $5 million project will create one travel lane in each direction and a center turn lane.

When done, the new roadway will have curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes, Lenneman said.

The project will start with utility work in advance of the road construction.

Federal grant money is financing about two-thirds of the project.

The county purchased right-of-way for the widening several years ago.

The Bruce Road Bridge project will replace the existing bridge with a new span that is about 5 feet higher and slightly wider. The extra height will help reduce the grade of the hill on the south side of the creek, Lenneman said.

The county has been replacing aging bridges, including a new Little Spokane Bridge north of Wandermere Road.

Repaving of Argonne Road from Wellesley Avenue north to Bigelow Gulch Road could be done this construction season if there’s money, Lenneman said.

More traffic, more confidence

If you have noticed more traffic in the past few months, you’re right: A new report from a traffic-data company based in Kirkland, Wash., shows gridlock around the country grew by 10 percent in February when compared with February 2012.

The top official at Inrix, the company that produced the report, said “traffic is a great indicator of confidence” in the economy. More people are on the road because of an improving job market, and freight shipments are up as well.

Chicago, Phoenix and New York saw traffic increases of 18 to 20 percent in February, according to the report. However, some cities, such as San Diego and San Antonio, had declines.

Cheney-Spokane and U.S. 195

In southwest Spokane, the northbound section of U.S. Highway 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road is being reduced from two lanes to one lane to make room for construction of a new interchange.

The intersection of U.S. 195 and Inland Empire Way is closed to traffic.

Southbound turns onto Cheney-Spokane Road are possible only at the construction site, causing drivers to slow down. Drivers should watch for slowing vehicles preparing to turn.

Watch for runners, congestion

Traffic near Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena could be busy this evening, city officials said.

An NCAA women’s basketball tournament game at 6:30 p.m. is expected to draw a crowd.

In northwest Spokane, drivers near Spokane Falls Community College should watch out for runners training on Saturdays this month. A series of Bloomsday clinics is being held at the college this month.

Elsewhere in the city, traffic is currently blocked on Francis Avenue from Crestline to Haven streets to allow for reconstruction of the roadway.

Also, 29th Avenue is now closed for reconstruction from Bernard Street to High Drive in a second summer of work on that arterial. Last year, the segment from Grand Boulevard to Bernard was closed.

This year’s work on 29th is reportedly causing traffic congestion on detour routes.

The two city jobs are part of a 2004 voter-approved street reconstruction program.

Sullivan Road work

In Spokane Valley, southbound drivers on Sullivan Road at Interstate 90 may see lane restrictions and delays due to maintenance work on the overpass bridge today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

I-90 lighting

Work to install a new lighting system on I-90 through downtown Spokane will continue this week. City streets next to the freeway may have lane restrictions.

The new lighting will use energy-efficient light-emitting diode lamps. Northeast Electric of Woodland, Wash., is the contractor on the $2.5 million job.

Signs and guardrails

State Highway 21 from Odessa to the Keller Ferry terminal may be reduced to a single lane of traffic where crews are working on guardrails and signs.

Similar work is being done on state highways 271, 272 and 274 in Whitman County, and lane restrictions will be likely in work zones on those highways.

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