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

State sees roundabouts as answer to congestion at Medical Lake interchange

Business and residential growth along Interstate 90 west of Spokane has caused increasing traffic congestion at two important interchanges.

Lawmakers last year approved $26 million to fix the problem as part of the Connecting Washington transportation package that is also financing completion of the north Spokane freeway through higher gasoline and other transportation taxes.

Designs are still in the preliminary stages, but the state has proposed three roundabouts for the Medical Lake interchange on Interstate 90 and two roundabouts at the Geiger Boulevard interchange.

The Medical Lake interchange, which serves state Highway 902 and a growing shipping industry on the West Plains, has seen some serious traffic backups for years.

At a community meeting last week, residents reported delays of several minutes at congested offramps.

“We know we need to do something about it,” said Mark Allen, the state’s project manager on the interchange improvements.

Rather than rebuilding the interchange with traffic lights, state engineers are proposing three roundabouts to serve the freeway ramps and the intersection of Hayford Road and Highway 902.

The roundabouts would move traffic more quickly and prevent delays that would occur if traffic lights were installed, Allen said.

In addition, Spokane Transit Authority has won state grant funding to build a $12 million West Plains Transit Center there.

A new STA park-and-ride lot would be adjacent to the eastbound offramp. Buses would use a driveway along the roundabout serving the eastbound lanes.

Full operation of the transit center will hinge, in part, on voter approval of STA’s Proposition 1 on the Nov. 8 ballot.

The plan calls for using the center to connect Airway Heights, Medical Lake, Cheney and Fairchild Air Force Base to one another, rather than forcing riders to go to downtown Spokane and transfer to other buses to go to those communities, as occurs now.

The transit center will have 200 parking spaces, loading platforms, bike lockers, security cameras and vehicle charging stations. Real-time displays will tell riders exactly when buses are expected.

If Proposition 1 passes, construction on the transit center would start next year and be completed by September 2018.

Full operation of the center would be implemented over several years if Proposition 1 fails. It calls for an increase in the sales tax of a tenth of a penny in April 2017 and another tenth of a penny in April 2019, with both taxes to run through December 2028.

At the Geiger interchange, one roundabout would serve the intersection of Grove Road and Geiger Boulevard while the other roundabout would serve the westbound ramps. The eastbound ramps would remain in their current configuration.

The interchange improvements should be completed in 2021.

Meeting planned for Appleway Trail

In Spokane Valley, the public is invited to an open house on the next steps in development of the Appleway Trail.

The event will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the Commons at Greenacres Middle School, 17409 E. Sprague Ave. An overview is planned for 7 p.m.

Construction is slated for next year on the section from Pines to Evergreen roads.

Design and construction of the segment from Evergreen to Sullivan roads is planned for 2019 and 2020.

When complete, the trail will run 5.5 miles from City Hall and Balfour Park to Liberty Lake.

For more information, go to ApplewayTrail or call (509) 720-5010.

City celebrates Wall Street reopening

In Spokane, the city is holding a reopening celebration for a paving and stormwater project on Wall Street from Main Avenue to Spokane Falls Boulevard on Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with music and food trucks.

Those who attend can enter to win gift cards from Runners Soul, Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters.

Wall opened on Thursday to traffic. The rebuilt street features specialty types of pavement, new lighting and landscaping.

Elsewhere in Spokane, paving is set for Tuesday on Indiana Avenue for the reconstruction of the street from Dakota to Perry streets. The project should be done by Oct. 31.

New angle parking and lane configurations are in place on Main from Bernard to Division streets. Work is moving to the segment from Division to Pine Street.

Also in the downtown area, construction crews are getting ready to pave Lincoln and Monroe streets from Main to Second avenues, but the paving will depend on weather. Drivers will still encounter four-way stops, and pedestrians will have to negotiate torn-up streets and sidewalks.

On the new Ben Burr Trail, work is nearly finished along Second Avenue and the Perry Street underpass.

On the North Side, Pettet Drive remains closed to traffic during construction of a 690,000-gallon stormwater storage tank, which is part of a regionwide effort to reduce pollution in the Spokane River.

When completed, Pettet will get new pavement and a bike-pedestrian trail.

In Spokane Valley

Pines Road at Mirabeau Parkway will have lane restrictions through Oct. 22.

At the Sullivan Road Bridge over the Spokane River, northbound traffic will be moved back to the east bridge on Monday at 10 p.m., but with only one lane and vehicle size restrictions.

Other traffic restrictions are in place as well.

Near Airway Heights

Craig Road south of Airway Heights will be closed between McFarlane and Thorpe roads starting Monday through Oct. 31 for installation of a 12-inch water main.

The new line will provide better connections for the West Plains, including Spokane International Airport.

In Spokane County

In Spokane County, Avista is replacing electrical poles on 55th and 57th avenues and on Regal Street, requiring lane restrictions and flaggers directing traffic.

Crestline Road is closed for widening from Farwell Road to Carlson Court.

Barker Road from 11th to 15th avenues has lane restrictions for a widening project.

And on state highways, new advance intersection warning lights are being installed at U.S. Highway 2 and Colbert Road and on U.S. Highway 395 at Deer Park.

Along I-90, reconstruction of overpass bridges continues at the BNSF Railway mainline at Sprague Lake and at Wahl Road west of Ritzville.

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