The deadly intersection of U.S. Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road is getting the temporary fix that neighbors have been seeking.
Washington state transportation officials said a new exit lane for southbound traffic will be separated from the roadway. Officials had said earlier they might only have enough money for an improved turn lane adjacent to the through lanes.
The intersection was the site of a fatal crash in January that killed 16-year-old Cheney resident Lorissa Green, and of other serious crashes over the years. Green’s death sparked a neighborhood outcry to make the crossroads safer.
Residents demanded a full-scale interchange with overpass, but funding is not available currently. The state wants to spend $120 million for new interchanges and access roads to increase safety along the well-traveled highway to Pullman.
The exit lane is a short-term improvement that will increase visibility of oncoming traffic for motorists crossing the southbound lanes to go north toward Spokane.
Debi Hammel, Green’s mother, said in an e-mail that she was “much happier” with the latest plans from transportation engineers.
Lawmakers earlier this year approved a $250,000 appropriation for the exit lane, and the city of Spokane agreed to make up any additional cost beyond that amount.
The exit lane will be built on top of a strip of old pavement that once served as the route of the highway through Latah Valley before construction of the existing four-lane roadway in the late 1960s, said Al Gilson, spokesman for the transportation department.
Construction could be completed by fall under the one-month contract, which is out for bids until Aug. 6.
Road construction continues full throttle around the region, with major projects limiting motorist access. Here are a number of the larger jobs:
•Market Street from Garland to Francis avenues is closed for rehabilitation of the roadway under a multi-year, voter-approved street bond issue. The $5.6 million job is being paired with street-side improvements through Hillyard under a separate funding grant.
•On the south side, 37th Avenue from Perry to Regal streets is closed for rehabilitation, although local traffic can access the street. Southeast Boulevard from 29th Avenue to Perry Street remains under construction, with the first layer of asphalt going down.
•Five Mile Road is being widened from Austin to Lincoln roads. The road from Stratton Avenue to Lincoln is getting trees, a sewer line and grassy collection areas for water runoff. A truck climbing lane will be added from Austin Road to Stratton. The road from Austin to Alberta Street will have two northbound lanes and one southbound lane. From Alberta to Lincoln, the road will have one lane in each direction with a center turn lane. The roadway is currently closed from Austin to Cochran Street. The cost is $6.1 million.
•Paving is under way in southeast Spokane near Altamont Boulevard and in the Logan Neighborhood north of Gonzaga University.
•A water main and street improvement project continues on Buckeye and Grace avenues in northeast Spokane.
•The traffic signal at Lincoln Street and 14th Avenue will be out of commission for at least two more weeks while crews install a new light. Lane closures and obstructions may occur during the work. Temporary stop signs are in place, creating a four-way stop.
•The last of three intersection jobs along Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley gets started today at Sprague and Evergreen Road, which will have lane and travel restrictions during the work. Businesses are supposed to remain accessible during the $2.9 million job, which is being done in tandem with resurfacing on Sprague Avenue.
•Federal stimulus money is paying for repaving projects on U.S. Highway 2 from its intersection with state Highway 211 through the city of Newport; U.S. Highway 395 from the Stevens County line near Deer Park to Immel Road north of Chewelah; and Mt. Spokane Park Drive from U.S. 2 to Bruce Road.
•Work also is continuing on U.S. 2 at its future interchange with the north Spokane freeway. Southbound traffic on the highway has been reduced to one lane.
•Rut repair and repaving of Interstate 90 through east Spokane continues to slow traffic from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. On- and off-ramps may be closed at various times.
•In Spokane County, work continues on the western end of Bigelow Gulch Road, where crews are preparing a route for widening.
•In Coeur d’Alene, work is proceeding on $2.9 million repaving and beautification project on Fourth Street from Lakeside to Harrison avenues.
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