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

Division Street gateway upgrade begins

Work is starting today on a project to improve and beautify Spokane’s main gateway along Interstate 90 at Division Street.

Landscaping, sculptures, walkways, irrigation, walls, fencing, lighting and other features are planned in the $650,000 project.

The contractor on the job, Bacon Concrete Inc., of Spokane, will be working during nighttime hours so that lane closures needed for construction won’t cause traffic jams.

The closures will be from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and will involve one lane of the Division westbound off-ramp and one west lane of Division at the freeway overpass.

A series of themed sculptures will help create the impression for drivers that they have arrived. An existing sculpture piece at Fourth and Division is being incorporated into the new landscape.

A sculpture of a Native American spear fishing was identified as one of the themes.

State and federal funds are being used in the project. Part of the money is coming through a loan from the city’s investment pool to be repaid by the under-freeway parking revenue fund.

The Division project is one of three potential projects to improve the city entrances.

The Spokane Public Facilities District is planning a beautification project for a large traffic triangle adjacent to the Spokane Convention Center at Division and Spokane Falls Boulevard.

Full funding for that $500,000 project is pending and involves six entities.

“Division needs every bit of help it can get,” said Kevin Twohig, executive director of the public facilities district, an arm of local government that operates the Convention Center, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and the INB Performing Arts Center.

In addition to those two projects, the city is planning a new stormwater retention area that will include new landscaping at Monroe Street and Fourth Avenue on the inside of a clover leaf area for the eastbound on-ramp from Monroe to I-90.

That area has been frequently occupied over the years by transient campers.

The stormwater facility to be built this year is part of the $4.5 million reconstruction of Monroe and Lincoln Street from Second to Eighth avenues.

Stormwater from the two streets will be piped to an infiltration pond with re-engineered soils inside the clover leaf, said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman. Excess water will go into a drywell.

A fourth project involves painting of the exterior wall of a vacant motel at Third and Lincoln.

Calls for beautification of city gateways date back a decade or more. Twohig said the traffic island improvements at Division and Spokane Falls have been under discussion for seven years.

The interchange for I-90 at Maple and Walnut streets may also see improvements in the future.

U.S. 195 improvements

The state Department of Transportation last week announced four projects on U.S. Highway 195 between Pullman and Spokane for this construction season.

Three of the projects involve repaving while the fourth involves concrete pavement repair.

Poe Asphalt Paving Co., of Clarkston, has won a $1.8 million contract for resurfacing U.S. 195 from the south Pullman intersection at state Highway 27 northward to Babbitt Road.

That will be a daytime job beginning in mid-May and will result in single-lane closures and pilot cars to guide traffic in alternating queues down the open lane.

In mid-June, resurfacing work will move to the stretch through downtown Colfax northward to Dry Creek Road. This job is being done during nighttime hours to reduce delays.

A month later, work then goes to the segment from Plaza to Spangle, which will be another daytime job with pilot cars to guide alternating traffic through the work zone.

The last of the four projects in mid-July involves repairing southbound concrete panels from I-90 to Excelsior Road. Work there should last nearly four months. One lane will remain open during the work.

High-intensity crosswalk lights

Spokane city officials last week announced that two new “high-intensity activated crosswalk beacons,” known as a HAWK lights, are being installed at key pedestrian crossings.

Work on the first one begins today at Boone Avenue and Ruby Street where a new extended-stay hotel is opening in the reconstructed Burgan’s Furniture building.

Developer Jerry Dicker had asked for a stoplight there. He wants to protect pedestrians who will be going to and from Gonzaga University and using the unprotected intersection at Boone. The hotel will likely be an attraction for GU guests and family members of students.

The city’s first HAWK light was installed on Hamilton Street on the east side of GU’s campus.

The other new installation will be at Manito Park at 18th Avenue and Grand Boulevard. That work will begin next Monday.

The cost of the two lights is in excess of $500,000.

Forker Road repairs

On April 8, Forker Road from Progress Road to Bigelow Gulch Road will be closed so crews can replace damaged guardrails on that curving section. The road is tricky to negotiate when it is icy. A photo from a county worker shows a section of nearly demolished guardrail.

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