Local news

Cheney-Spokane interchange won’t be done by end of year

Work on a new interchange at U.S. Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road won’t be completed this year as originally anticipated.

A contractor working on the $6.4 million construction project is slowing down on work and is expected to finish it next year.

The interchange will eliminate turns and crossing traffic at the formerly at-grade intersection.

A southbound off-ramp has been completed and is now open to traffic.

However, construction detours are causing some confusion for drivers, said Al Gilson, a Washington state Department of Transportation spokesman.

No turns are allowed for northbound traffic onto Cheney-Spokane Road. Drivers instead must use Qualchan Drive.

Also, right turns are prohibited from the southbound lanes onto the old pavement of Cheney-Spokane Road. Drivers must use the southbound exit ramp for access to Cheney-Spokane Road.

Selland Construction, of Wenatchee, won the contract on the job and started work last January.

The former intersection was the site of numerous serious accidents over the years.

The design is consistent with longer-range plans to improve access and safety along U.S. 195 from Interstate 90 to Hatch Road. Those plans call for interchanges at Meadowlane and Hatch roads, construction of a collector road, an underpass at 16th Avenue and an overpass at Thorpe Road.

Residential growth in the area is forcing the state to plan the improvements.

The full project has been estimated to cost $106 million in addition to the current interchange work. The larger plan does not have funding, though the planning dates back to 1999.

Total cost of the interchange at Cheney-Spokane Road is about $10 million, including design and right of way.

State has tow plows

The state’s highway maintenance facility on Geiger Boulevard is now equipped with a new type of plow that is towed by a plow truck.

The tow plow is mounted on a specialized trailer that allows the truck driver to turn the trailer wheels outward, making the trailer plow swing into a second lane for plowing. The driver also has a plow mounted at the front of the truck.

The device allows one driver to remove snow from two lanes or one lane and a shoulder.

The trailer can also be equipped with a tank or hopper to apply de-icer or sand.

A video showing the tow plow in action can be found on the Web. Just search for “tow plow.”

Drivers on road less

A new report by the WashPIRG Foundation shows that drivers in the Spokane urban area have reduced their annual vehicle miles traveled by 9.5 percent from 2006 to 2011.

That comes alongside an increase in bus ridership of 44 percent from 2005 to 2012.

Drivers also became more likely to combine trips to save on fuel.

Bike coordinator cut

The city of Spokane is eliminating the position of bike and pedestrian coordinator. Instead, the city administration is going to integrate planning for nonmotorized travel into all street projects and long-range planning.

Grant Wencel, the bike and pedestrian coordinator, is eligible to move into another Civil Service job, said Brian Coddington, city spokesman.

Utility work ongoing

In Spokane Valley, westbound traffic on Mission Avenue between Bradley and Thierman roads is reduced to one lane from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday for utility work.

Flaggers will be directing traffic through the work area where congestion is expected.



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