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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Getting there: Work on I-90 certain to cause traffic backups

Traffic heads through downtown Spokane on the  Interstate 90 viaduct on a rainy October day in 2005. The state Department of Transportation has hired West Company Inc., of Airway Heights, to repair expansion joints on the downtown viaduct and bridges over Third Avenue at Liberty Park. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

Work starts Monday on Interstate 90 near downtown and is certain to cause traffic backups and slowdowns.

The state Department of Transportation has hired West Company Inc., of Airway Heights, to repair expansion joints on the downtown viaduct and bridges over Third Avenue at Liberty Park.

The contractor is also going to fix concrete panels that are broken in the $1.6 million job.

Already, the freeway is susceptible to backups during periods of heavy traffic or when an accident occurs.

The coming construction project is going to cause lane reductions from May 8 through June 22 with the exception of Memorial Day weekend.

“It’s going to cause major backups,” said Al Gilson, spokesman for DOT in Spokane.

Work this week will involve setup.

Eastbound and westbound lane closures are planned on Monday evening through Sunday morning from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Then on May 8 through May 26, eastbound I-90 will be reduced to two lanes from Division to Altamont streets.

The eastbound Altamont off-ramp will be closed and the westbound Altamont on-ramp will be closed from 3 to 7 p.m.

The freeway will be cleared of lane obstructions for the Memorial Day weekend.

At the end of Memorial Day weekend, the project steps up with lane closures in both directions through June 22. There will be just two lanes of through traffic between Division and Altamont.

The Altamont off-ramp for eastbound traffic will be closed, and the westbound on-ramp will close from 3 to 7 p.m.

In addition, the eastbound Walnut Street on-ramp will be closed during a portion of the project.

Gilson said the state’s goal is to finish the project in time for the heavier traffic that accompanies Hoopfest weekend.

He said the repairs are needed to address damage caused by the daily pounding of 100,000 vehicles.

The project is part of the state’s commitment to maintain roads.

Engineers are recommending that motorists use alternate routes, including Second and Third avenues as well as Trent Avenue from Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Mission Avenue is another good east-west alternative.

Traffic restrictions continue on I-90

To the west, I-90 will continue to see traffic restrictions and slowdowns and nighttime lane closures from Cle Elum to Snoqualmie Pass.

Eastbound lanes near Cle Elum between mileposts 87 and 93 will be reduced to a single lane 24 hours a day Monday through Friday.

City construction and closures

In Spokane, single lane closures are in place on the east curb sides of Division and Browne streets for construction upgrades.

The intersection of 37th Avenue at Freya Street is closed for continued work on a two-year street and utility project. The intersection should reopen by Friday.

That will be followed by a full closure of 37th between Regal Street and Freya. The project will include repaving, curbs, sidewalks, bike lanes and a new water main.

Work is underway on a wastewater retention tank at Liberty Park, resulting in traffic restrictions.

The 2-million-gallon tank costs $9.6 million.

In another wastewater tank project, Upriver Drive is closed from west of Freya Street to east of Rebecca Street.

The Centennial Trail is on detour.

Construction is resuming on another wastewater tank at Adams Street and Sprague Avenue.

Road, lanes closed in Spokane Valley

In Spokane Valley, Buckeye Avenue is closed between McMillan Road and the city limits for a sewer project.

A southbound lane on Bowdish Road at 34th Avenue will be closed Wednesday through Friday for a utility project.

A northbound lane in University Road at 31st Avenue will be closed through Wednesday for a utility project.

A northbound lane on Pines Road at 25th Avenue will be closed Friday for a water line repair.

Around the county

In Spokane County, the Ritchey Road Bridge at Deep Creek is closed.

Also, work is underway in the median of Country Homes Boulevard between Wall and Division streets. Delays are possible.