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

Getting There: I-90 to be free-flowing during upcoming holiday weekend

In this May 28, 2010, file photo, the rush-hour commute starts in early afternoon on Interstate 405 on the Westside of Los Angeles as commuters and vacationers hit the road for Memorial Day. This year, AAA is forecasting that 39.3 million will be traveling at least 50 miles from home from May 25 through May 29. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Barricades and lane restrictions are being removed from eastbound Interstate 90 this coming weekend to make room for Memorial Day traffic.

The effort to fix concrete panels and bridge expansion joints has been causing major traffic backups eastbound from downtown Spokane.

The state normally clears away construction-related traffic restrictions during major holidays.

While drivers are getting a break this weekend, the situation is going to become more difficult starting at the end of the holiday.

Westbound traffic will also be reduced to two lanes through the construction area, which is centered at two Third Avenue overpass bridges where Third swings under the freeway near Liberty Park.

State transportation officials said they expect the work to be finished and the freeway fully opened by June 22, in time for Hoopfest.

Elsewhere on I-90, the Indian John Rest Area near Cle Elum will be closed to drivers Monday and Tuesday for repaving.

Rolling slowdowns are planned to hold back traffic for construction work between Ellensburg and North Bend.

Heavy holiday traffic

If you are hitting the road for Memorial Day, you will have plenty of company.

AAA is forecasting that 39.3 million will be traveling at least 50 miles from home from May 25 through May 29.

Of those, 34.6 million Americans will take to the road.

That represents a 2.7 percent increase over 2016, and the largest number of travelers over Memorial Day since 2005.

“The expected spike in Memorial Day travel mirrors the positive growth seen throughout the travel industry this year,” said Jennifer Cook, spokeswoman for AAA in Washington.

“Higher confidence has led to more consumer spending, and many Americans are choosing to allocate their extra money on travel this Memorial Day.”

Of course, relatively low gasoline prices aren’t hurting either.

Around the city

In Spokane, the city is stepping up work to rebuild and improve the street amenities in the Sprague Avenue business area between Helena and Altamont streets.

The stretch from Napa Street to Altamont has been closed for construction for about seven weeks now.

On Monday, the contractor will close the blocks from just west of Helena to Napa as part of an effort to get the work finished. That phase was initially planned to start in late June.

As a result, the full project will finish up in late August.

“The project includes an enhanced streetscape, new pedestrian lighting and landscaping, bumpouts at intersections that reduce crossing distances, updated water infrastructure and new pavement,” city officials said in a news release last week.

A few years ago through the area, Sprague was reduced from two through lanes in each direction to one through lane each way with a center turn lane.

That three-lane configuration, or “road diet,” will continue through the rehabilitation.

The city said businesses there have reported a drop in customers but said the detours around the area are working well.

L&L Cargile Inc., of Spokane Valley, is the contractor on the $3.8 million project.

Elsewhere in the city, 37th Avenue remains closed between Ray and Freya streets for a major rehabilitation, plus utility work.

Division Street is getting pavement patches to fix wear and damage from winter.

A stormwater tank project at First Avenue and Adams Street is affecting traffic in that area, including a closure and detour of Riverside Avenue.

The Division Street gateway project is continuing with lane closures.

“This project includes electrical conduit replacement, stormwater updates, asphalt patching, curb and sidewalk replacement and landscaping,” the city said in its weekly obstructions report.

The west side of Monroe Street will be closed this week for repairs to irrigation just south of Riverside Avenue.

Spokane Falls Boulevard continues to be closed from Lincoln to Monroe streets for a sewer tank installation. A major traffic revision is in place next to the downtown library at Main Avenue and Lincoln.

The right lane of Spokane Falls also is closed next to Riverfront Park’s construction.

New handicap curb ramps are being installed on Ruby and Division streets from North River Drive to Euclid Avenue.

Bus route changes

Spokane Transit Authority implemented a series of service improvements on Sunday, including a new No. 95 mid-Valley bus. The route will bring service for the first time to Indiana Avenue east of Sullivan Road, which has seen the expansion of offices and medical care in recent years.

A ribbon-cutting is planned for the new route at 10 a.m. Monday at the Pence-Cole Valley Transit Center at Fourth Avenue and University Road.

The No. 96 Pines/Sullivan route will be modified.

Cheney routes will see earlier weekend trips and later Saturday night service.

The No. 60 airport bus will get additional weekend service to Airway Heights via Northern Quest Casino.

The No. 32 Trent/Montgomery bus will get an earlier weekday trip to Spokane Community College.

The improvements were made possible by a voter-approved transit measure last November that allowed for a 10th-of-a-penny sales tax increase starting in April.

State highways

Also on state highways, workers will be upgrading sidewalks and ramps on Trent Avenue from Mission Avenue to Evergreen Road.

They will also be on state Highway 291 in the Suncrest area; U.S. Highway 195 at Pine Creek and Old Highway Bridge; state Highway 28 from Harrington to Davenport; state Highway 21 from Wilbur to the Keller Ferry; and U.S. Highway 2 at Oldtown.

Multiple I-90 projects in Coeur d’Alene

In Coeur d’Alene, major projects are getting started with lane restrictions in several locations, including I-90.

I-90 is being repaved from Ninth Street to Sherman Avenue and from Sherman to the Blue Creek Bay bridge.

U.S. Highway 95 is getting pavement repairs from I-90 to Blackwell Slough.

New signs are going up from near Stateline into Shoshone County.

In addition, the city of Coeur d’Alene is revitalizing Seltice Way and adding roundabouts at Grand Mill Drive and Atlas Road.

A larger intersection is being built at Ironwood Drive and U.S. 95, and a new signal light is going in at Ironwood and Medina Road.

Government Way is being rebuilt and widened starting in mid-June from Hanley to Prairie avenues.