Drivers last week might have wondered about that huge drill rig along the northbound lanes of Division Street at Gordon Avenue.
Wonder no more: A contractor is installing a series of variable message signs at nine locations along Spokane city streets.
Those signs will be connected to the region’s “intelligent transportation system” to keep drivers informed of what’s ahead.
Until now, most variable message signs have been placed along major highways.
The city has been installing fiber optic cable in the pavement over the past several years in preparation for this summer’s sign installations, city spokeswoman Julie Happy said.
“I think these will be great for traffic flow,” she said.
Drivers will be warned about accidents, obstructions, construction and road conditions through information gathered and disseminated by the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center.
In addition to the signs at Division and Gordon, other locations are Division and Cozza Drive; Division and Joseph Avenue; Division and Waverly Place; Maple Street and Broadway Avenue; Maple and Dean Avenue; Country Homes Boulevard and Cedar Road; Third Avenue and Adams Street; and Third Avenue and Bernard Street.
The fiber optic cable connections were installed during reconstruction along those streets in recent years.
Installing the signs takes advantage of a federal grant for the $1.6 million contract with Daktronics.
That’s the same contractor the state is using to install variable message signs this summer on westbound U.S. Highway 2 near Spotted Road; on eastbound Interstate 90 at Geiger Road, Division Street just east of Havana Street; and on westbound I-90 near University Road.
Daktronics uses energy-efficient, low-maintenance, light-emitting diode technology. The signs have a half-life of approximately 100,000 hours and use about a third of the electricity as the old sign technology, the company said.
To install the signs, the contractor is drilling holes 17 feet deep and 4 feet wide for foundations to anchor the sign masts, which will be 28 feet tall.
The signs will extend 30 feet over the pavement. The readout section will measure about 5 by 17 feet.
Water line work
Elsewhere in the city, crews are installing a 30-inch water line in Euclid Avenue from Mayfair to Crestline streets.
Rehabilitation of Crestline on the South Side begins July 1. It involves a new 36-inch water main from 57th to Thurston avenues. That water main will also go into Stone and Lee streets from Thurston to 37th Avenue.
New pavement, curb, sidewalks and storm drainage are being installed on Crestline from 44th to 53rd avenues.
Installation of a sewer lift station at Springfield Avenue will cause some traffic disruption between Columbus and Superior streets.
Coeur d’Alene residents and visitors can now take advantage of a new shuttle bus service through Sept. 1.
The shuttle runs from City Hall, 710 E. Mullan Ave., to Memorial Field along Northwest Boulevard. It runs on a loop using Lakeside Avenue from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
The bus can be identified by its sign that says “Welcome to Coeur d’Alene.”
Spokane County Commissioner Al French said he has been appointed to the state’s Freight Advisory Board to help guide transportation improvements to benefit shipping.
The board is a standing committee of the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board under the Washington State Department of Transportation.
French said the two top priorities for Spokane are new interchanges on I-90 at Medical Lake and at Geiger Boulevard and Grove Road.
State construction work on Francis Avenue west of Division Street and north on state Highway 291 to the Stevens County line is causing some traffic restrictions, but paving is occurring during overnight hours.
Repaving of Pines Road from 32nd to Trent avenues continues this week.
Construction work also continues at Market Street and Francis, where the state is rebuilding the intersection and installing a new overpass bridge for the North Spokane Corridor and BNSF Railway tracks.
Bridge deck repair on I-90 just west of the Cheney exit is also causing traffic restrictions.
Sunset Hill on I-90 is getting new pavement markers from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., which will cause lane restrictions.
New freeway lighting on I-90 in downtown Spokane is also being installed and is causing periodic lane restrictions.
Also, a new interchange is being built on U.S. Highway 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road, and that is causing lane restrictions for northbound traffic. Northbound access to Cheney-Spokane Road is being detoured onto Qualchan Drive.
Mount Spokane Park Drive will have lane closures during work from Holman to Mount Carlton roads and at the entrance to Mount Spokane State Park.
Installation of recessed lane markers on U.S. Highway 395 north of Spokane is causing some delays for drivers.
Reconstruction of the Keller Ferry terminal on state Highway 21 at the Columbia River is forcing closure of the ferry from July 8 to Aug. 14 in preparation of a new ferry for that route.