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

Getting There: Closure of residential bridge over I-90 divides west Spokane neighborhood

A bridge over Interstate 90 west of downtown Spokane probably isn’t noticed much by motorists traveling under it.

But for residents of the neighborhoods on either side of the freeway, it’s an essential link.

The importance of the Rosamond Avenue bridge was made clearer to residents when it was closed by the state Department of Transportation in April.

“It’s awkward, and it’s inconvenient,” Ralph Kirkam, a resident on Rosamond Avenue, said.

There was not enough funding to fix the cracking and heaving on the overpass, said Ryan Overton, Washington state Department of Transportation spokesperson.

A 2020 inspection report on file with the Federal Highway Administration labels the bridge, which was built in 1962, in “poor” condition. The report says that a 2014 estimate indicated it would cost about $2.9 million to fix and update it.

“They told us the bridge was unsafe,” said Kim Wright, a retiree who lives on Rosamond.

It’s unclear when funding will be available to fix it, while the state attempts to balance other important needs with limited funding, Overton said .

Without another exit out of the neighborhood, it means there’s been a noticeable increase in traffic, said Steph McWalters, who has lived in the neighborhood for three years. School buses often use their street, which is narrow and lined with cars, she said.

“There are two ways out of the neighborhood, and that was one of them,” McWalters said.

For Dale Wright, Kim Wright’s husband, the closure is an inconvenience on his daily commute.

“There’s been so much traffic because the school bus has to go down this road now,” Dale Wright said.

Overton said the state had to postpone repairs on the overpass to save money to make repairs to the Mullan Road bridge over I-90 in Spokane Valley. That bridge, built in 1975, will cost $2.4 million to fix. Construction is scheduled to start in the spring.

Mullan is a higher priority than Rosamond because there’s significantly more traffic on Mullan, Overton said.

The Rosamond inspection report says the bridge is used by about 600 vehicles a day, though city traffic data collected in 2019 showed about 3,100 vehicles traveling on the block just north of the Rosamond bridge. About 87,000 vehicles a day traveled under the bridge on I-90 in 2019.

Work to watch for

Grind and overlay projects are closing streets this week in these locations:

• Belt Street from Boone to Maxwell Avenue.

• Garland Avenue-Empire Avenue from Crestline to Market streets.

Grind and overlay projects will affect traffic in these locations:

• 31st Avenue from Division to Bernard streets.

• 26th Avenue from Bernard to Tekoa streets.

• Sixth Avenue from Wall to Washington streets.

• Howard Street from Fifth to Seventh avenues.

Clarke Avenue is closed from Spruce to Elm Street for work on the South Gorge Trail.

Sprague Avenue is closed between Grant and Division streets as the road is completely rebuilt.

Wellesley Avenue just east of Maple Street is reduced to one lane in each direction as the city works on the intersection in an attempt to improve traffic flow. The westbound left turn land is being lengthened.