North Spokane Corridor
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
By content type
Top stories in this topic
Stimulus to spur work on corridor
Feb. 18, 2010 in City on Page A1 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 … 5
Lure of the open road
Aug. 23, 2009 in City on Page A1 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, … 2
Proposal shrinks corridor, price
Nov. 25, 2008 in City on Page A1 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
Feb. 7, 2008 in City on Page A1 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
History makes way for new freeway
Highway cost estimates startle
June 5, 2002 in City on Page A1 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
June 6, 1999 in City on Page A1 Keeping track of where the most northerly stretch of the proposed North Spokane Freeway will go is like watching a Super Ball bounce. First it’s here. Then it’s there. Next …
Open house sheds little light on freeway
Possible freeway routes put homeowners on edge
North-south freeway to exact quite a toll
June 1, 1997 in City on Page A1 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 …