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

Getting There: Spokane County works out deal to acquire closed BNSF bridge near Airway Heights

As infrastructure goes, the Euclid Road Bridge is a mess.

For one, the dilapidated wooden structure, which crosses over the railway tracks north of Airway Heights, is falling apart. It has been closed since 2019, forcing some area residents to take a detour that adds a half-hour to their commutes. To make matters worse, the BNSF Railway Corp. owns it.

“How BNSF ended up owning the bridge is kind of a mystery,” Spokane County Commissioner Al French said.

It’s weird for a railroad to own a bridge on a county road. Worse than the weirdness, the railroad’s ownership has prevented the county from doing repairs.

French said that BNSF probably doesn’t want to own the Euclid Road Bridge.

“They own a bridge in a rural area in the state of Washington and it’s probably not a priority for them,” he said.

Finally, after three years of delay, the county has taken a major step toward ending the headaches.

The Spokane County commissioners last week signed a construction and maintenance agreement with BNSF that will allow the county to finally repair the rotting bridge.

French acknowledged that the last three years have caused hardship for residents and the U.S. Air Force’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school at nearby Fairchild Air Force Base.

“I appreciate the frustration that we have all experienced in going through this, but also the patience to try and get to a solution,” he said.

The county put out a request for bids and hopes to have a contractor for the $2.6 million project soon. The old wooden bridge will be demolished and replaced with a reinforced concrete bridge that spans over the tracks. French said BNSF will help pay for the work and, once the project’s finished, the railroad will transfer ownership of the bridge to the county.

“Having the county in control of it means that we won’t have to deal with this kind of interruption ever again,” French said. “We have the maintenance personnel to take care of the bridge now.”

Work to watch for

Ongoing curb ramp construction will move to the Cliff/Cannon and West Central neighborhoods this week, closing shoulders.

Crews will be working at Browne Street and Fifth and Sixth avenues, as well as McClellan Street at Seventh Avenue, on Monday and Tuesday. They’ll be working at 14th Avenue and Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe streets through Thursday. Beginning Tuesday, crews will be working at Boone Avenue and Nettleton and Oak streets.

The north- and southbound curb lanes of Government Way will be closed between Hartson Avenue and Sunset Boulevard beginning Monday for Sefnco work that will last until June 3. The eastbound curb lane of Sunset Boulevard between Government Way and Cochran Street will also be closed, as will the median lane on Sunset Boulevard between Government Way and Lindeke Street.

The westbound curb lane of 5 Mile Road will be closed between Maple Street and Austin Road beginning Monday.

Avista work will close the southbound curb lane of Monroe Street between Walton and Providence avenues, and the north and south curb lanes of Washington Street between North River and Boone Avenue, beginning Monday. Flaggers will also be present along the eastbound curb lane of Garland Avenue between Maple and Madison streets.

Post Street downtown will be closed between Main and Riverside avenues from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday for a concert.

Elm Street between Maxwell and Sinto avenues will be closed from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday for the NATIVE Project’s 33rd anniversary block party.