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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
News >  Spokane

Part of Ash will close for 2 months

Northwest Spokane residents might want to leave a little early today.

Ash Street will be closed between Francis and Wellesley. It will remain closed to through traffic for about two months while construction crews rebuild the road from the gravel sublevel on up.

Ash is the southbound portion of the Maple-Ash couplet.

After Ash, crews will move on to Maple between Wellesley and Francis and then on to both Maple and Ash north of Francis.

The entire project will cost about $2.5 million and is being paid for with a $117 million street bond voters approved last fall.

Ash and Maple will eventually be rebuilt all the way south to the Maple Street Bridge.

Traffic will be beastly

Cougars, coyotes and deer will be the beneficiaries of a project to improve Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is planning to build bridges and underpasses for animals along a 15-mile improvement area from Hyak to Easton.

Also on tap are plans to widen the interstate there from four to six lanes, reduce avalanche risks, stabilize slopes and repair pavement.

But the wildlife crossings are the new part.

They would help connect isolated animal populations and prevent them from becoming roadkill.

The Federal Highway Administration and Washington Fish and Wildlife Department are taking part in the environmental impact statement on the project.

Fourteen animal passageways might be built.

The state has already appropriated $388 million, but the cost estimate for the project is $410-$980 million.

Who needs roads anyway?

Spokane’s allocation of state transportation funding has been steadily declining, according to Washington State Transportation Commission Chairman Dale Stedman.

Stedman told the Spokane Regional Transportation Council last week that the Spokane area used to be able to count on getting about 10 percent of any new funding.

That dropped to 6.5 percent with the 5-cent gas tax added in 2003.

And this year, the Washington Legislature barely gave the Spokane area crumbs in its 16-year allocation of new transportation funding.

The area was allocated less than 3 percent of a funding package of increased gas taxes and other fees will raise about $8.5 billion.

That’s about $250 million.

Meanwhile half of the funds raised will be spent within 40 miles of downtown Seattle, Stedman said.

That’s because they control the majority of transportation votes.

“Here’s where we are. Here’s where we’re heading, and it’s not very bright,” he said.

In other words, don’t count on that North-South freeway being completed any time soon.

Monroe Bridge update

Things are speeding up at the Monroe Street Bridge.

Construction Project Manager Tom Garner said last week that it might now be completed by mid-October instead of the end of October as predicted earlier this year.

That’s still not the springtime opening we were promised, but it’s an improvement.

Fair warning

Drivers get a break this week.

The Spokane Police Department’s traffic unit will be focusing this week on enforcing the city’s helmet laws.

They will be looking for violators near skate parks, the Centennial Trail and Riverfront Park.

All bicyclists, skateboarders and skaters must wear approved helmets or face a potential $52 ticket.

Slow going

If you haven’t already, put on those glasses.

It’s High Drive’s turn for construction this week. Grind and patch repairs will be going on there from 29th Avenue to Manito Boulevard. Expect lane closures and delays.

Division Street drivers can anticipate some slowdowns at Cleveland on Tuesday and Wednesday night between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. while a water line is constructed there.

Third Avenue in downtown Spokane will continue to be plagued with backups this week.

Eighth Avenue is still closed from McClellan to Washington and only two lanes of Washington are open in the area of Spokane’s Washington-Stevens couplet project.

Government Way continues to be limited to one lane in each direction in some areas between Hartson and Sandy Ridge Avenue for a water main installation.

Also under construction in Spokane are Regal Avenue from 38th south and Crestline from Wellesley to Francis.

The Palouse Highway will be closed from Valley Chapel Road to Dunn Road starting today. A detour is in place.

In Spokane Valley, Park Road construction continues between Second and Eighth avenues. And farther north, Park is closed from Trent to Rutter Avenue.

The Sherwood Forest sewer project will necessitate the closure of Fourth Avenue from Farr to University.

The intersection of Bigelow Gulch and Argonne is under construction and there are some tie-ups expected.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is going to be working on Highway 27 in Whitman County, including Grand Avenue in downtown Pullman. The resurfacing project is expected to begin Thursday and continue through September.

The Keller Ferry is also dry-docked this week until Friday.

And take that potty break before the Horn School Rest Area on Highway 195. It will be closed Tuesday-Thursday.

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