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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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2 week traffic disruption coming to Liberty Lake for Harvard Road bridge widening

Aug. 16, 2021 Updated Mon., Aug. 16, 2021 at 11:44 p.m.

 (Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)
(Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)

The headaches for drivers in Liberty Lake will get worse before they get better.

The ramp that takes traffic heading southbound on Harvard Road to westbound Interstate 90 has been closed since Aug. 8 to allow crews working for the Washington State Department of Transportation to extend, realign and repave it. That has pushed southbound drivers looking to head west on the interstate all the way to Barker Road to find an on-ramp.

When that southbound Harvard Road on-ramp reopens on Friday, WSDOT will close the entire Harvard Road overpass for two weeks.

That will give crews a chance to repair the overpass’ bridge deck and widen it with a second northbound lane.

It will also temporarily split Liberty Lake into two halves, detouring drivers who want to reach the other side of town onto I-90, where they will have to go west to Barker Road or east to the State Line interchange before turning around and exiting on the far sides of Liberty Lake.

The project is also expected to lead to some overnight closures on eastbound and westbound I-90 during Aug. 24-27, according to Ryan Overton, a WSDOT spokesman. During those closures, traffic will be routed off the interstate at Barker and State Line.

In the meantime, crews will remove the asphalt from the existing bridge deck, perform concrete deck repair under the surface and then repave the surface.

WSDOT rearranged the original schedule for the Harvard Road ramp and bridge work due to concerns about the effect of extreme heat on the curing of the bridge’s concrete. But with more moderate temperatures forecast, WSDOT plans to finish the work by the time school restarts in the fall, when Liberty Lake’s new Ridgeline High School will open.

The transportation department has suggested various detours:

  • Travelers heading eastbound on I-90 needing access north of the Harvard Road interchange are encouraged to use the Barker Road interchange and Mission Avenue or the State Line interchange and then head back west on I-90 to access points north of I-90 at Harvard Road.
  • Travelers heading westbound on I-90 needing access south of the Harvard Road interchange can use the State Line interchange and East Appleway Avenue.
  • Travelers south of I-90 needing access to westbound I-90 can use the East Country Vista Drive to the Barker Road interchange.
  • Travelers north of I-90 needing access to eastbound I-90 can use either Mission Avenue to the Barker Road interchange or westbound I-90 exit at the Country Vista interchange and travel back east on Country Drive.

When the Harvard Road work wraps up on Sept. 3, it won’t mean the end of major WSDOT construction in Liberty Lake.

Crews working for WSDOT are laying the groundwork now for construction of a completely new crossing over I-90 that will lie between Barker and Harvard. The Kramer Parkway connection will span I-90, connecting Mission Avenue on the north to Country Vista Drive to the south.

Though work to relocate utilities is underway, Overton said WSDOT doesn’t have a start date for construction “because of procurement issues with materials.” The new overpass is slated to be completed next year.

The projects in Liberty Lake are part of the broader, $23 million Barker to Harvard project, which included a pair of roundabouts and improved on-ramps at the Barker Road interchange.

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