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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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I-90 improvements to Lookout Pass continue this year

A $28.8 million project to repave and improve Interstate 90 from Mullan, Idaho, to Lookout Pass will move into the second year of construction this spring.

The Idaho Transportation Department is having a 4.5-mile section of I-90 rebuilt under a contract with Acme Concrete Paving Inc., of Spokane.

Work this year will rebuild the eastbound lanes after the westbound lanes were improved in 2015.

Single lanes of traffic in each direction will be placed on the westbound lanes.

Shuttle buses will be deployed again this year so bicycle tourists can get up and down the pass safely during construction.

The construction zone is going to be narrow, creating a hazard for bicycle riders, said Reed Hollinshead, spokesman for ITD.

“It’s a unique safety service for the area,” he said.

The transporter shuttle service will be available by calling (208) 755-3230 starting on April 4.

Riders of bicycles capable of handling gravel surfaces might consider taking the 11.5-mile NorPac Trail.

In addition to the repaving work, the pass project involves installation of new drainage, guardrails, signs, runaway truck ramps and erosion control.

The existing concrete barrier is going to be replaced with a taller median wall.

Completion of the work is expected this fall.

STA meetings will cover SFCC transit

Spokane transit improvements for west Spokane to Spokane Falls Community College will be the topic of community meetings this week.

Spokane Transit Authority is holding a workshop on Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4340 W. Fort George Wright Drive.

Also, STA is holding open “studio” sessions on Tuesday from noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon at the same location.

The planning on future transit improvements will include concepts to enhance economic development along Fort George Wright Drive and adjacent streets.

BNSF to spend $220M on rail upgrades

BNSF Railway has announced that it plans to spend $220 million on rail improvements in Washington this year.

In the past three years, BNSF has spent $550 million on upgrades in the state, including work in the Spokane area and Eastern Washington.

It is part of a $4.3 billion investment in BNSF network improvements, the railroad said.

The work involves laying new rail, replacing old rail ties and implementing a positive train control system, which monitors and controls train movements.

Bill expands customs pre-clearance to Canada

Congress is considering a bipartisan bill to expand the ability of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to perform pre-clearance checks for travelers coming into the U.S. from Canada.

U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington are co-sponsors.

The U.S. operates pre-clearance facilities at 15 airports in six countries. The pre-clearance makes arrivals from those locations go more smoothly and it also enhances security by screening passengers before they depart on aircraft bound for the U.S.

The bill includes a provision for rail pre-clearance as well.

The prime minister of Canada is scheduled to visit Washington state on March 16 to talk about pre-clearance.

Canada in turn could open its own pre-clearance facilities in the U.S.

Pre-clearances are expected to enhance the $55 billion travel and tourism sector in the Pacific Northwest, according to the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region, a nonprofit organization.

Leftover leaf cleanup planned

In Spokane, leftover leaf cleanups are planned in the area between Manito Park and 29th Avenue followed by the Rockwood area to the east.

The area bounded by I-90, Southeast Boulevard, 29th Avenue and Grand Boulevard will be part of the cleanup.

Geotechnical core drilling is continuing on Spokane Falls Boulevard west of Lincoln Street.

Pettet Drive under the T.J. Meenach Bridge will be closed Monday for work on a new sewer overflow tank project.

Also, work starts Monday on Rowan Avenue. The $2.7 million project involves the stretch from Driscoll to Monroe Street.

County crews to clean culverts

Spokane County road crews this week are cleaning culverts on Wildrose, Austin, Midway and Colbert roads and Dartford Drive.

In addition, sweepers will be on Belmont, Forney, Jackson and Meadows roads and the area south of Geiger Boulevard.

Brush will be cut on Mullinix Road south of Cheney.

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