Road construction work in the Spokane region kicks into an even higher gear with more projects getting underway this month.
The new starts will create more detours and slowdowns for drivers who are already forced to navigate numerous major projects.
On Interstate 90, a new westbound off-ramp for Freya Street is under construction with earthwork occurring north of the freeway.
Drivers will have to watch for a narrowing of the lanes through the construction area.
In Spokane, work begins Tuesday with the closure of 37th Avenue from Freya to Havana streets.
This is the first part of a two-year, $4.8 million rebuild of the roadway that will include the addition of curbs, sidewalks, bike lanes, stormwater facilities and a new 36-inch water main from Freya to Custer streets.
Part of the project connects with an expansion of the Hazel’s Creek stormwater facilities.
In 2017, the project moves to the west for work from Freya to Regal streets.
Also in Spokane, the long-planned extension of Martin Luther King Jr. Way from Sherman to Erie streets will start July 11.
The project will create a new arterial route on the south side of the University District campus and Spokane River, including a significant connection for the expanding Ben Burr Trail system. MLK Way also will connect Riverside Avenue with Trent Avenue.
The arterial will open access to a piece of land sandwiched between the river, BNSF Railway tracks and the Hamilton Street interchange bridge over the river.
Wall Street between Main Avenue and Spokane Falls Boulevard will close Tuesday for a major job to install storm sewer lines, drainage structures, sidewalks, new pavement, traffic signals, irrigation and lighting.
Also in the city, repairs to the storm sewer are planned for Monday through Wednesday on High Drive from Bernard Street to Grand Boulevard.
The Hatch Road hill south of 57th Avenue will be undergoing a repaving job with the old upper layer of asphalt being ground off first.
Other major city projects are continuing on Monroe and Lincoln streets in the downtown area and on the lower South Hill.
Also, work continues to improve the intersection at Main and Division Street.
Numerous stormwater projects have led to street closures, including Bridge Avenue just north of Spokane Falls, Pettet Drive south of T.J. Meenach Drive and the residential area south of Northwest Boulevard in and around Columbia Circle.
Hawthorne segment project begins
In Spokane County, work on Hawthorne Road has already caused closure of the segment from Division to Waikiki Road.
On Tuesday, work will start on the section from Division to the Newport Highway. The project involves new stormwater facilities, pedestrian improvements and resurfacing.
In addition, the state is improving the intersection of Hawthorne and Division, which will result in lane closures during evening and nighttime hours Wednesday through Friday.
Project affects I-90 near Ritzville
Elsewhere, the state is doing pavement work on I-90 west of Ritzville to the state Highway 21 interchange.
Three other state projects will result in traffic delays for single-lane alternating traffic led by pilot cars through the construction zones.
They are on U.S. Highway 2 from Westwood to Colbert roads; U.S. Highway 195 from Plaza to Spangle; and state Highway 291 from Charles Road to the Stevens County line.
The state is also building a new roundabout at Wellesley Avenue and Freya as part of the future extension of the North Spokane Corridor. City crews are currently installing new utilities in advance of construction.
In Sandpoint, work is set for Thursday on installation of new pedestrian crossing buttons on U.S. Highway 95 at Larch Street.
The signal will be shut down during the work from 4:30 to 10 a.m.
‘Hum’ system helps monitor teens
Parents can keep a closer eye on their children’s driving with new onboard technology available from Verizon.
A device that plugs into the vehicle computer port next to the steering column can relay instant information on the speed and soundness of a vehicle.
As a result, parents can monitor the speed of the vehicle and set geographic boundaries through their smartphones to temper their children’s travels.
The system is available through Verizon, but it works with all other cellphone providers.
Known by the brand name of “hum,” the system comes with a Bluetooth device that connects the driver with the monitoring system.
It also provides instant alerts by text message to smartphones via an application available as part of the monitoring package.
The service is similar to OnStar.
The hum system provides crash detection, roadside assistance and vehicle diagnosis. But Verizon is promoting it for its monitoring capabilities for parents of young drivers.
Angela Falcone, general manager of the Verizon store at Spokane Valley Mall, said she equipped her vehicle with the system to keep an eye on her daughter’s driving.
“She actually drives like a grandma,” Falcone said of her daughter.
For more information, go to www.hum.com.
Potlatch offers tours of restored depot
The public is invited to tour the restored train depot in Potlatch, Idaho, on Saturday during an event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Speeder car rides are available during the Depot History Day event.
A historic preservation group has spent 15 years bringing the depot back to life with a museum, shops and offices.
The depot once served the Washington, Idaho and Montana Railway.
Saturday’s event will feature live music and other entertainment.
For more information, go to www.wimryhpg.com.
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