As the 2014 construction season approaches, the state Department of Transportation is getting ready to start repaving work on several major highways in the Spokane region.
Topping the list is U.S. Highway 2 from Espanola Road to Interstate 90, including Airway Heights, a distance of 12 miles.
Inland Asphalt Co., of Spokane, has won a $5.1 million bid for the project, expected to start in April.
Included in the contract is a new traffic signal at Flint Road, which provides access to Spokane International Airport from U.S. 2, also known as the Sunset Highway.
The repaving job was delayed from last year to give Spokane time to design the traffic signal and have it included in the overall bid.
Al Gilson, spokesman for the state, said combining the repaving and traffic signal into a single project was intended to save money.
The other repaving projects planned on highways in the region are:
• U.S. 2 from Westwood Avenue just south of Bear Lake north to the Pend Oreille County line, where the highway becomes a four-lane route.
Spokane Rock Products won that contract with a $1.6 million bid. Work is being held off until after the July 4 holiday weekend, Gilson said.
• I-90 from Barker Road to the Idaho state line, a distance of six miles. Widening that section of the freeway is proposed for a future project.
• State Highway 904 from Betz Road to I-90 at Four Lakes. Widening the highway to four lanes will have to wait for funding in the future as well.
• I-90 from the Lincoln County line to Salnave Road.
• I-90 from the Grant County line to state Highway 21.
Details about construction timing and potential traffic restrictions have not been determined, Gilson said.
“It’s a pretty good paving program for this season,” he said.
Free parking today
Drivers coming to downtown Spokane won’t need to plug parking meters today because of the Presidents Day holiday.
Garbage and curbside recycling will be on regular pickup schedules this week.
Riverfront Park and city libraries will be open. Municipal court clerks will be at their desks and available by phone, but the Public Safety Building will be closed to the public.
Buses on holiday schedule
Transit buses may be unusually full since Spokane Transit Authority is operating on a holiday schedule today.
For example, the Division Street bus No. 25 runs every 15 minutes on weekdays and Saturdays but will be running every 30 minutes, with its last departure from the Plaza downtown at 7:50 p.m.
Airline to comp tickets for Shriners
Southwest Airlines announced it will once again help Shriners Hospital for Children in Spokane with complimentary round-trip tickets for patients.
The nationwide program is expected to have a value of $2.8 million this year.
In the past seven years, more than 33,000 tickets have been given out in 26 states.
Transit agencies seek better bill
A state Senate proposal to raise more money for transportation does not adequately address needs by transit agencies, according to the Washington State Transit Association.
Susan Meyer, Spokane Transit’s CEO, said in a news release that the public supports a multimodal transportation system with a strong transit component.
Washington’s 32 transit agencies annually have 222 million riders climb onto buses and trains.
But transit only receives 2 percent of its funding from the state, leaving the bulk of financing to local communities.
Transit agencies are seeking more help from the state as well as voter-approved local options for raising money.
Moving company fined by state
The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission assessed a $7,000 fine against Bekins Northwest movers of Kent for failing to file an application on acquisition of Action Moving Services Inc., of Spokane.
The applications are required as a consumer protection measure.
The company was given a chance to request a hearing to contest the penalty or seek a reduction in the amount.