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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There: Avista opens electric car charging station in Rosalia

The pieces are moving into place to make commuting between Spokane and Pullman easier for drivers of electric cars.

Avista Utilities has opened a new fast charging station in Rosalia. A fast charger only needs 15 to 20 minutes to recharge a car versus the several hours required for a normal charger, said Avista spokeswoman Mary Tyrie.

“This is our very first fast charger that we’ve put in,” she said. “It’s a really important part of the program that we’re doing.”

Two more fast chargers will be installed in Pullman and Spokane by the end of May to complete the commute corridor. “It’s a bit of a stranded asset right now in Rosalia until we get those connectors,” she said. “That Rosalia one is super key for some cars to get down to Pullman. It will be very important for that corridor.”

Stranded asset or not, people were using the fast charger when Avista officials were there for a soft launch on Wednesday. The site at the Texaco Visitors Center at the corner of Whitman Avenue and Sixth Street also includes a Level 2 charger that is slower than the fast charger but still quicker than plugging into a normal electrical outlet, Tyrie said. The fast charger is 30 cents per minute and the Level 2 charger is free.

The installation of the charging equipment is part of a two-year pilot program. There will be an additional four fast chargers installed along commute corridors in the next 18 months, including one in Liberty Lake.

Idaho road crews turn to blue salt

The Idaho Transportation Department has begun using blue salt on highways in North Idaho.

Blue salt is supposed to be less corrosive and cheaper than traditional road salt. Crews will be able to use less of the salt to achieve the same effect, which will save money, according to an ITD news release.

The department is experimenting with the new salt to see how effective it is. It will be used on 1,500 miles of highways in North Idaho.

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