The next step in building the North Spokane Corridor involves up to $20 million worth of work to reconfigure rail lines in Hillyard.
The job will take almost two years. Bids are scheduled to be opened Aug. 1.
Part of the freeway is open, from U.S. Highway 395 at Wandermere south to a pair of roundabouts that serve as the interchange for Freya Street and Francis Avenue.
The realignment of BNSF Railway tracks will occur a short distance southwest of the Freya roundabouts and extend south to the vicinity of Wellesley Avenue.
Plans call for putting the freeway next to the railroad’s mainline along the Hillyard historic business district. But the railroad also operates a spur track that serves businesses to the east.
Both pieces of track will have to be moved – the mainline to the west, the rail spur to the east – to create enough room for the freeway, said Al Gilson, spokesman for the Washington State Department of Transportation in Spokane.
The contractor on the realignment will also build four bridges across the tracks – two for the freeway and two for the freeway’s Children of the Sun bike and pedestrian trail.
The job also involves completing the trail from the Freya interchange to the Hillyard business area.
Bidding for the contract was delayed about a month so that WSDOT’s real estate department could wrap up acquisition of land from Pasta USA Inc., which operates a plant at 3405 E. Bismark Court along the rail spur.
Negotiations among WSDOT, Pasta USA and BNSF took longer than anticipated.
The contractor will build the realigned rail line up to a sub-base of rock. Then, BNSF crews will finish the job of laying ballast and track, using railroad company crews and equipment, Gilson said. The state is paying for that as well.
Work should continue well into 2015.
Funding for the project comes from a $10 million grant out of a federal program known as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, or Tiger.
The other half of the money comes from savings on state transportation construction projects, including the North Spokane Corridor. It is the last in a series of contracts that built the northern 5.7 miles of the freeway. Currently, there is no funding to extend the freeway farther south.
Nearly $600 million has been spent so far. Completion will take an estimated $1.3 billion but is being planned as a series of interconnected jobs to be contracted as money becomes available.
Upgrades to Idaho state Highway 3
Three projects on Idaho Highway 3 got underway earlier this month, including repaving of 8.4 miles from Swan Creek Bridge to the Coeur d’Alene River Bridge.
The repaving is using a recycling technique in which the existing pavement is ground up in place. Then, small amounts of cement and water are added to the mix, which cures to a stronger sub-grade.
The contract with Apollo Inc. of Tri-Cities calls for upgrading a pair of undersize culverts at Canary and Robinson creeks.
Two treated timber bridges at Willow and Swan creeks are being replaced with new spans.
Temporary traffic signals at the bridges are controlling single-lane traffic. Also, the highway is reduced to one lane at the culvert sites. Speed reductions are posted.
The cost of the project is $6.27 million.
Bruce Road repaving on tap
Spokane County commissioners last week approved bids by Spokane Rock Products Inc. for repaving two segments of Bruce Road this season.
The job will redo pavement from Peone Road to Day-Mt. Spokane Road and from Stoneman Road to Peone Road for $1.6 million.
County engineers originally intended to repave Bruce in 2014 following a proposed bridge replacement over Peone Creek this summer. But problems in the bridge bidding forced the county to delay that work until next year. Engineers decided to move ahead with the repaving this year.
In another vote last week, commissioners approved safety improvements worth $248,000 on Hangman Valley, Madison and Magnesium roads.
Argonne due for major repaving
Argonne Road drivers should prepare for a major repaving job north of Wellesley Avenue starting July 29.
The job is going to reduce traffic to a single lane in each direction from Wellesley to Bigelow Gulch Road. Work involves using a cement treatment to strengthen the sub-base and applying a 4-inch layer of asphalt on top of that.
In addition, the contractor is adding 962 feet of sidewalk on the east side of Argonne along with signs and striping for bicycles.
The cost of the project is $2.5 million with $2.1 million coming from a grant.
Snoqualmie Pass blasting this week
WSDOT is warning evening drivers heading across Snoqualmie Pass on I-90 to be prepared for delays during blasting today through Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
The closures Tuesday and Thursday nights should last one hour, but longer closures are possible tonight and Wednesday night.
Crews are removing rock to make room for freeway widening and to increase safety in the multiyear job.
Napa Street underpass to close
In Spokane, the Napa Street underpass for the BNSF mainline north of Sprague Avenue will close from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Railroad crews will be doing maintenance to the overhead bridge work.
Also, a series of major road and utility improvements underway for weeks will continue to create traffic detours and restrictions.