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
Budget funds study of corridor tolls
Feb. 23, 2008 in City on Page A1 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
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 …
Editorial: Corridor obligations
Freeway tax likely to go for roads, too
Jan. 28, 2008 in City on Page A6 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
Jan. 19, 2008 in City on Page A1 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?
Corridor costs on agenda
Dec. 19, 2007 in City on Page A1 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
Our View: Road to the future
July 13, 2007 in Opinion on Page B4 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
April 21, 2007 in City on Page B1 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
March 23, 2007 in City on Page B2 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
Feb. 4, 2007 in Opinion on Page B8 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
Jan. 26, 2007 in City on Page A1 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
Corridor made No. 1 priority
June 13, 2006 in City on Page A1 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
April 3, 2006 in City on Page A1 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
March 10, 2006 in City on Page B1 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
Federal bill to fund city highways
July 30, 2005 in City on Page B6 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 …
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 …