A bridge used by thousands of motorists each day south of Spokane reopened Friday, several weeks ahead of schedule.
The Hatch Road bridge, closed since late March, reopened Friday, giving motorists back a connection off of U.S. 195 that had prompted a lengthy detour for travelers approaching Spokane from the south.
“This project presented one of the most impactful detours for drivers and we are thrilled to be able to open the route up earlier than expected,” said Kirstin Davis, communications manager for the city’s Public Works division, in a statement. The work also closed one lane of northbound U.S. 195 at Hatch Road.
The 111-foot concrete bridge, first constructed in 1919, carried 10,500 vehicles daily during the city’s most recent traffic count in 2018. During the construction, motorists hoping to reach Hatch Road from the south on U.S. 195 had to travel to downtown Spokane and back down High Drive on the South Hill to reach their destinations.
In interviews late last month, neighbors had expressed mixed feelings about the detour, with some criticizing the longer traffic times while others were pleased with less busy roads during the construction. The closure also initially caused some confusion among delivery trucks, requiring increased signage at the intersection of U.S. 195 and Hatch, according to city records.
Halme Construction was the lead contractor on the work, which replaced the bridge’s deck and made a designated right-turn lane for traffic headed north on U.S. 195 toward downtown from Hatch Road. That’s intended to reduce travel times in the area.
The $1.9 million project was paid for with federal traffic funds, the city said.
Construction had been scheduled for completion at the end of July. The city initially indicated the bridge would be ready to reopen last week, but a final inspection indicated more work was needed.
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