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North Spokane Corridor

Summary

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


  • Finished span of road buoys faith in corridor

    Finally, Spokane has something concrete to show for half a century of dreaming and talking about a north-south highway. On Saturday, the first drivable link of what’s now officially called …


  • Celebration planned for corridor opening

    It’s 3.7 miles of two-lane concrete, running from Francis Avenue north to Farwell Road. For Spokane, that’s reason to celebrate.


  • Portion of N. Spokane Corridor opens Saturday

    It’s 3.7 miles of two-lane concrete, running from Francis Avenue north to Farwell Road. For Spokane, that’s reason to celebrate.


  • State lawmakers keep it local

    OLYMPIA – Last year, in his bid to win a seat in the Statehouse, Spokane-area coffee entrepreneur Kevin Parker knocked on nearly 22,000 doors. It worked. In a difficult year …


  • Corridor leg opens in August

    The Washington state Department of Transportation will open the first segment of a new north Spokane freeway this summer at the same time that one of the largest contracts in …


  • North-south freeway work means Highway 2 restrictions

    A major step in construction of a new north Spokane freeway gets under way today with new lane restrictions and a detour on U.S. Highway 2. The detour and restrictions …


  • Corridor waits on funds

    OLYMPIA – Don’t look for a flood of federal or state cash to suddenly speed up construction on the 53-years-and-counting North Spokane Corridor. The federal stimulus plan, slated to be …


  • Lawmakers search for north-south freeway funding

    OLYMPIA – Don’t look for a flood of federal or state cash to suddenly speed up construction on the 53-years-and-counting North Spokane Corridor. The federal stimulus plan, slated to be …


  • Leaner corridor needs our region’s support

    After six decades, the regional dream of a high-speed transportation corridor connecting North Spokane with Interstate 90 is beginning to be realized. By 2011, 5.5 miles of the corridor between …


  • 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 …


  • Our View: Your input may be key to corridor’s completion

    In some science fiction films, asphalt roads have disappeared. Citizens get around in “hovercars” that fly through the air above crowded cities. On the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Web …


  • North-south freeway worth funding, lawmaker says

    The federal government should provide more money to help build the North Spokane Corridor, a high-ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee told local leaders Wednesday in Spokane. …


  • Rossi’s road plan taps vehicle sales taxes

    OLYMPIA – Saying that key transportation choke points are “a foot on the air hose of the Washington economy,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi on Tuesday proposed a 30-year, $15.4 …


  • Budget funds study of corridor tolls

    OLYMPIA – As state lawmakers seek dollars for the multibillion-dollar North Spokane Corridor project, they want to see if a Western Washington strategy – charging tolls – would make sense …


  • 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 …


  • Editorial: Corridor obligations

    So difference does it make if a truck loaded with cargo for Canada can’t glide off of Interstate 90 east of Spokane and wind up 12 efficient minutes later merging …


  • Freeway tax likely to go for roads, too

    If new taxes are created to help pay for a North Side freeway, they also should pay for street improvements, Spokane city leaders said last week. State officials are pushing …


  • $20 car tab tax on the table

    If Spokane residents want a completed freeway north from Interstate 90, they’ll have to pay. That’s the growing consensus from state leaders as city and county officials contemplate ways to …


  • Why do you think it’s called a freeway?

    Gov. Gregoire doesn’t get us. I know. That’s a given since Christine – excuse me, Chris – is over there on the West Side.


  • Corridor costs on agenda

    OLYMPIA – If Spokane-area drivers want to see the North Spokane Corridor move quicker than it has in the 51 years since it was first proposed, Gov. Chris Gregoire said …


  • Getting There: Area projects may put hole in your wallet

    Everyone knows there’s no such thing as a free ride. There’s no such thing as a free road, either. That was the persistent refrain last week at a two-day Inland …


  • Our View: Road to the future

    Larry Larson, project engineer for the north-south freeway, still gets calls from people who ask him: “When are you going to build it?” He is a patient man who explains …


  • Corridor gets $99 million

    OLYMPIA – House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a two-year state transportation budget that includes nearly $100 million more toward construction of the North Spokane Corridor, $6.7 million for …


  • North-South Freeway slowly moving forward

    OLYMPIA – Despite mushrooming construction costs, key lawmakers in both the state House and Senate say they’ll likely be able to keep the first major phase of the long-awaited North …


  • Our view: Freeway neglected

    It’s awards season, so we nominate Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels for Best Performance in a Drama for his reaction to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s transportation budget, which would kill the idea …


  • East Side could lose highway funding

    OLYMPIA – Nearly two decades after a state gas tax increase that was intended to help pay for Spokane’s North-South Freeway and two Puget Sound projects, local lawmakers say Spokane …


  • 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.


  • Corridor made No. 1 priority

    Build the North Spokane Corridor and, some believe, the Inland Northwest could become the next international freight hub. Let the project lie fallow, and transport companies already here will struggle.


  • Cooperation the key to corridor

    If Spokane wants the money to complete the North Spokane Corridor freeway project, local governments and businesses had better get on the same page. That was the not-so-subtle message last …


  • Funds OK’d for highway

    OLYMPIA – The decades-in-the-making North Spokane Corridor project may get an extra $32 million from the state, thanks to a supplemental transportation budget approved by the Legislature this week. “That …


  • 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.


  • Federal bill to fund city highways

    The North Spokane freeway, Interstate 90 and Riverside Avenue were all winners Friday in the national competition for federal highway money. Congress funded those and several other Eastern Washington projects …