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Getting There: North Spokane freeway work resumes

FILE – U.S. Highway 2 passes under the North Spokane Corridor Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, near Farwell Road. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
FILE – U.S. Highway 2 passes under the North Spokane Corridor Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011, near Farwell Road. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Work on the north Spokane freeway and a handful of other major construction projects in the region resumes on Monday as the 2017 construction season gets underway.

Max J. Kuney Co. of Spokane has a $7.6 million contract to build two freeway bridges over Freya Street north of Francis Avenue. The bridges will serve the main lines of the developing freeway known officially as the North Spokane Corridor.

The contract is the next step in taking the freeway through Hillyard and south to Interstate 90.

Funding for the bridges is coming from gas tax increases in 2003 and 2005, both of which were tapped to build the freeway from Wandermere to Freya, about half the total distance of 10 miles.

So far, the state has spent more than $600 million on the freeway, including rights-of-way in East Spokane.

The state plans to spend another $879 million to finish what will ultimately be a $1.5 billion high-speed roadway.

Completion will come in steps through the Connecting Washington funding program approved by state lawmakers in 2015.

Earlier this month, the state announced a deal with BNSF Railway and the state Department of Ecology to build the freeway adjacent to old railroad oil contamination without raising an elevated segment in Hillyard.

Future money for completion will start out slowly, with $54 million expected for the 2017-2019 biennium that starts in July. The majority of that money will go to right-of-way purchases and engineering, with $20 million earmarked for construction.

The funding ramps up in 2019, with completion expected by 2029.

In addition to the two new mainline freeway bridges over Freya Street, the state has hired Red Diamond Construction Inc., of Spokane, on a $382,000 contract to build sidewalks, curbs and cul de sacs on streets that will be blocked by the freeway in the Hillyard area.

Work scheduled for Monday will involve contractors getting ready for construction.

Stormwater tank work will close Spokane Falls Boulevard

In downtown Spokane, a major traffic revision on Spokane Falls Boulevard is expected to start Monday to make way for a new stormwater tank between the Spokane River and Downtown Library.

Spokane Falls Boulevard will be closed from Lincoln to Monroe streets and traffic will be routed onto a detour next to the library.

The 2.2 million gallon tank will collect both stormwater and raw sewage during heavy runoff and hold it for later treatment at the city’s wastewater plant.

The $20 million tank is one of numerous new tanks being installed around the city to stop sewage spills during storms and snowmelt events.

Work on the Spokane Falls tank will take two years to complete.

Coeur d’Alene seeks comments on bike plan

In Coeur d’Alene, the city is working on an update of its bikes and trails master plan and is seeking public comment.

A public meeting is set for Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Coeur d’Alene Library community meeting room, 702 E. Front Ave.

According to a news release from the city, “The plan sets a long-term vision to help Coeur d’Alene become one of the top bicycling and pedestrian-friendly communities in the Northwest.”

For more information, go to cdaid.org/trailsandbikesplanupdate.

Flooding closes roads

Flooding continued to raise havoc on area roads late last week.

U.S. Highway 395 remained closed just northwest of Colville from floodwater flowing over the highway.

Also, state Highway 31 south of Metaline was closed because of the danger of landslides from a saturated layer of clay. A slide had closed the highway earlier this month.

Spokane County reported significant road damage, mainly from washouts.

The city of Spokane closed several low-lying streets as the Spokane River spilled over its banks last week.

Sprague Avenue project starts in April

Work on improving East Sprague Avenue from Helena to Stone streets is set to start on April 3.

Pettet Drive near T.J. Meenach Bridge will be closed from Monday through April 10 as part of a stormwater tank project.

Work on the extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way at the University District will restart on Monday.

New rumble strips

To the north, crews are installing new rumble strips on U.S. 395 from Half Moon to Loon Lake. Crews also are working between Colville and Kettle Falls in spots not covered by water.

Ferry service down

The Keller ferry will be down for maintenance work this Saturday through the early morning of April 10.


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