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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Latest updates in this topic
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
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
$35 million grant to extend North Spokane freeway
Next phase of freeway work is a real blast
Dec. 28, 2009 in City on Page A1 Short-term closures of U.S. Highway 395 near the Little Spokane River will occur over the next several weeks as construction workers set off explosives to excavate the site of an …
Freeway detour forced to detour
Sept. 21, 2009 in City on Page A1 The construction of the north Spokane freeway isn’t occurring without some risk to public safety, which was demonstrated in a little-noticed event in the work zone last week. As part …
Freeway leg isn’t a big time-saver yet
Aug. 31, 2009 in City on Page A1 The north Spokane freeway may be a nice quiet stretch of concrete to drive, but it isn’t saving anyone much time. Traffic has been sparse on the 3.7-mile section since …
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
Freeway leg open to traffic
Finished span of road buoys faith in corridor
Aug. 21, 2009 in Opinion on Page A11 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
Portion of N. Spokane Corridor opens Saturday
State lawmakers keep it local
July 6, 2009 in City on Page A1 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 … 1
Corridor leg opens in August
June 22, 2009 in City on Page A1 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
April 27, 2009 in City on Page A1 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
Feb. 17, 2009 in City on Page A1 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 … 1
Lawmakers search for north-south freeway funding
Feb. 16, 2009 in City 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
Dec. 13, 2008 in Opinion on Page A17 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
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 …
Our View: Your input may be key to corridor’s completion
Sept. 24, 2008 in Opinion on Page B4 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 …