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
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Sixth District donnybrook
Oct. 9, 2010 in City on Page A1 He’s the incumbent. He’s his party’s whip in the state Senate. He has more campaign money and a diverse list of backers that includes unions and large businesses. But in … 45
Federal funds advance North Side corridor
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More buildings in freeway’s path set for removal
Sept. 8, 2010 in City on Page A1 While construction work continues on the North Spokane Corridor north of Francis Avenue, more vacant homes will be torn down this fall in central Spokane to make room for freeway … 1
Theft interrupts cable service
Aug. 13, 2010 in City on Page A6 The theft early Thursday of fiber-optic cable lines left between 5,000 and 7,000 Comcast customers in northeast Spokane without television, high-speed Internet and phone services. Comcast crews restored services in …
Spokane business owner in freeway’s path sues state
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June 26, 2010 in City on Page B3 Motorists on U.S. Highway 2 northeast of Farwell Road are going to find big changes this weekend. Southbound lanes will be closed through Sunday evening so that the contractor on …
Freeway roadwork may cause backups in north Spokane
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Open house set on freeway update
Money is major roadblock for final leg of freeway
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Freeway redraws housing footprint
April 25, 2010 in City on Page A1 With decades of studies, draft reports, public meetings and money shortfalls, Spokane’s north-south freeway has remained more of a concept than a road. Even the portion of the freeway that … 2
North Spokane Corridor interactive timeline
Creek at risk, complaint alleges
April 2, 2010 in City on Page A7 On multiple occasions last year, untreated storm water from a north Spokane freeway construction site illegally spilled into Deadman Creek, a stream that flows into the Little Spokane River. The …
Center alleges freeway project is violating Clean Water Act
April 1, 2010 in City The Center for Justice’s Spokane Riverkeeper project is alleging that the state Department of Transportation has violated the Clean Water Act during construction of the North Spokane freeway.
Corridor ceremony highlights grant, and the politics behind it
Feb. 22, 2010 in City on Page A1 One person was noticeably absent from last week’s gathering to celebrate the announcement of a $35 million federal stimulus grant for the North Spokane Corridor. U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, … 9