Drivers traveling between Pullman and Spokane are being told to expect delays throughout the summer due to construction on U.S. Highway 95. Some projects will begin Monday.
The Washington State Department of Transportation announced plans for two upcoming projects totaling $4.2 million Thursday, which include repairs to five bridges and the addition of four passing lanes on the highway.
WSDOT Spokesman Al Gilson said the bridge repair project, set to begin Monday, will take place at three locations – two near Rosalia and one just north of Steptoe.
“We’re doing what we call ‘bridge deck’ repairs,” Gilson said. “They’ll grind off the top layer of the bridge surface, make any repairs to the rebar that’s underneath that stabilizes that surface, and then resurface it with concrete pavement again.”
Crews will set up traffic light systems to direct drivers through single-lane traffic at each location, Gilson said, which will operate 24 hours a day. He estimated drivers can expect to be delayed about 20 minutes.
“It just depends on when they get the signal,” Gilson said.
Bridge repair work is expected to conclude mid-July.
Gilson said crews will begin work on the new passing lanes in late April and should wrap up toward the end of August.
“We’ve been talking about adding passing lanes on U.S. 195 between the Spokane area and Pullman for years and years and years,” Gilson said. “We added the first two passing lanes last year, now we’ve got four more that we’re going to construct this year.”
Three of the four new passing lanes will be installed between Plaza and Rosalia, while the fourth will be about 8 miles north of Steptoe. Gilson said funding for the $4.2 million project is derived from the Connected Washington transportation package passed by lawmakers in 2015. Gilson said the additional lanes increase safety along what can be a busy roadway.
“These are an enhancement that gives drivers safer passing opportunities along that highway section,” Gilson said. “Sometimes impatient drivers make unsafe passing decisions, and so these are opportunities where an additional lane enables them to make that maneuver a little safer.”
While the passing lane project is expected to cause delays, Gilson said they won’t be quite as long as those related to the bridge work. He said any lane closures will likely be limited to specific phases of the project in which the contractor deems it necessary for safety.
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