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
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 …
Property owners condemn DOT over corridor plans
Ground broken for $1 billion North Spokane Corridor
Aug. 23, 2001 in City on Page B6 State highway officials have designed it and bought property for it. On Wednesday, they threw a big groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a $3.5 million grading job on …
First segment of north-south freeway to get start
Aug. 20, 2001 in City on Page A1 Improving north-south traffic in Spokane is an idea born in the postwar years, back when you started your car by stepping down on a floorboard push-button. In 1956, the cost …
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 …
Freeway deemed ‘wasteful’
Second freeway meeting creates less angst
Open house sheds little light on freeway
Possible freeway routes put homeowners on edge
North-south freeway will be built from Hillyard down
Jan. 22, 1999 in City on Page B1 The likelihood of state money is making the north-south freeway seem more like reality than a pipe dream. State officials have now decided freeway construction should begin at the less-developed …
North-south freeway could get $120 million start
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 …
Freeway Hearing Draws 150 Wary, Interested Show Up To Figure Impact Of Route North
Sept. 29, 1995 in City on Page B1 The calm, the concerned and the curious came to a public hearing Thursday to find out how a 10-mile freeway project would affect them. They peered at wall-sized neighborhood maps, …