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Getting There: State to build roundabout at Freya and Wellesley

The Washington state Department of Transportation will build a new roundabout at Freya Street and Wellesley Avenue as part of the preparation for extending the North Spokane Corridor from Hillyard to Interstate 90.

The roundabout will serve traffic to and from the future interchange for the corridor at Wellesley. More truck traffic is expected to use that intersection once the freeway is extended.

The $2 million roundabout is just a small piece of the larger freeway plan, estimated to cost $880 million and take several years to complete.

Work on the roundabout is expected to start this construction season. The city of Spokane will start the job by installing new water and sewer lines before the roundabout is built.

Even though lawmakers last year approved funding for corridor completion, it will take several years to get the project ramped up, said Al Gilson, DOT spokesman in Spokane.

Engineers are re-examining details for the planned freeway, its interchanges and its access streets.

Part of the work involves preparing construction contracts to meet the anticipated flow of new gasoline taxes, which will be used to pay for the work, Gilson said.

“We have to break (freeway construction) into projects that fit with the cash flow,” he said.

For the next two years, the state will chip away at smaller items such as the roundabout.

The agency also needs to finish buying rights-of-way to clear the path for the freeway. That includes commercial and industrial properties near Trent Avenue.

Central City Line input sought

Spokane Transit Authority wants to hear from the public on the exact route that a proposed Central City Line should follow.

STA has scheduled three “brown bag” sessions to provide information to the public about the project and to take input.

The Central City Line was the largest piece of the Moving Forward transit plan that went to the voters last April asking for a sales tax increase but was narrowly turned down.

The line would run on a fixed route using electric trolleys with rubber tires. It would go from Browne’s Addition on the west through downtown and then northeast to Gonzaga University and Spokane Community College.

The hourlong noontime sessions will be Jan. 25 in the Kress Gallery behind the food court at River Park Square; Jan. 26 in the Liberty Building, 203 N. Washington St.; and Jan. 27 in the Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave.

Valley sidewalks meeting set

Spokane Valley residents are invited to a community meeting on upcoming sidewalk improvements along Blake Road from Eighth Avenue to the future Appleway.

The meeting to gather community input and share the plans will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at Spokane Valley City Hall council chambers, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.

The session will start with an overview of the project.

For more information, contact Ray Wright at (509) 720-5019 or by email at rwright@spokanevalley.org.

Flashing lights at night to end

The installation of new traffic light technology that can detect vehicles approaching the light will allow Spokane to end the practice of switching numerous traffic lights to flashers during early morning hours.

More than two dozen intersections are being converted so they no longer flash.

The change takes place Monday.

Most of the intersections involved had gone to flashers from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. to 5 a.m. on weekends.

Highway manual to be revised

The Federal Highway Administration is asking for help from the public for a future version of its Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

In recent years, transportation officials and companies have been concerned about the size and complexity of the manual. The highway administration also wants to address emerging technologies.

Comments can be made through the federal rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Online comments are being accepted through Feb. 18.

The manual can be found online at mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009r1r2/pdf_index.htm.


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