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North Spokane Corridor


Cars travel the North Spokane Corridor on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The first leg of the long-sought North Spokane freeway opened in August 2009 and provides partial achievement of a high-speed, non-stop link from Interstate 90 to the edge of the Spokane urban area, a distance of 10.5 miles. The northern half of the project from Francis Avenue to Wandermere Road on U.S. Highway 395 is scheduled to open in 2011. It will complement the two-lane section opened in 2009, and will have interchange access for the two major North Side highways – U.S. 2 and 395.

Nearly $570 million has been committed to planning, right-of-way and construction so far. That includes a $35 million federal economic stimulus grant awarded in 2010. DOT estimates it will need another $1.6 billion to finish the freeway from Francis to I-90 and could spend another 20 years on the job. By then, the total cost could swell to $3 billion.

As early as 1946, state officials called for building a companion roadway adjacent to Division Street to improve North Side traffic flow. The push for a freeway accelerated in the 1960s and ‘70s, but a route through the Logan and Lidgerwood neighborhoods ran into opposition and stalled.

Selection of the current route on the east side of Hillyard occurred after BNSF Railway closed its facilities there in the 1980s, leaving behind large hunks of little-used property. Opposition to the current project has largely been limited to residents in the path of the freeway and a handful of activists.

Proponents see the freeway as means to increase efficiency of the region’s roads, allowing freight and general traffic to move through the area more quickly and creating jobs and economic growth in the process.

Summary written by staff writer Mike Prager

Latest updates in this topic

  • Stimulus to spur work on corridor

    Spokane’s long-sought North Side freeway got a boost on Wednesday with the announcement of a $35 million federal economic stimulus grant to pay for a 3.7-mile extension of the southbound …

  • Lure of the open road

    A completed north Spokane freeway – sought for more than a half-century – would bring economic growth to the region as much as it would speed traffic across the city, …

  • Proposal shrinks corridor, price

    OLYMPIA – Trying to kick-start the next phase of the years-in-the-making North Spokane Corridor, state lawmakers this morning will propose a slimmed-down version. The plan, crafted by state engineers, trims …

  • Some question freeway as city addresses climate change

    As Spokane leaders this week launched a new effort to slow climate change, they’re also considering tax increases to build a new freeway. It’s a combination that some officials say …

  • Needs lap funds for Interstate 90, corridor

    Interstate 90 offered quick trips when it was built 50 years ago in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene. Traffic was minimal and the roadway was smooth and new.

  • History makes way for new freeway

    A couple of weeks ago, Lee Campbell and his daughter, Amy, bought a house for $100. But that’s just the beginning of the story.

  • Highway cost estimates startle

    The good news first: Despite a series of eyebrow-raising new cost estimates to fix Puget Sound’s worst traffic nightmares, the price for the long-awaited North Spokane Corridor turned out about …

  • 3 freeway routes remain on the table

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  • Open house sheds little light on freeway

    They came hoping for answers. But many left an open house on Spokane’s proposed north-south freeway Thursday feeling more confused than enlightened.

  • Possible freeway routes put homeowners on edge

    For years, Spokane’s north-south freeway was like a horse on a child’s Christmas list - something longed for though never truly expected.

  • North-south freeway to exact quite a toll

    More than 500 homes and 115 businesses many of them in one of Spokane’s poorest and most ethnically diverse neighborhood would be razed or moved if engineers ever get the …