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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There: New roundabout, bridges and Bigelow Gulch construction coming to Spokane in 2023 as part of six-year transportation plan

Get ready for a new roundabout at 57th Avenue and Freya Street, the second phase of the Bigelow Gulch project and new bridges at Little Spokane Drive and Euclid Road.

Those are just a few new transportation projects coming to Spokane next year as part of the county’s long-term transportation plan. Over the next six years, proposed construction in the county will cost about $190 million, though most of it will come from state and federal grants.

“We have a lot of really good projects programmed going forward,” County Engineer Matt Zarecor said at a county strategic meeting last week.

The six-year plan averages about $32 million a year in new transportation projects, though 2023 is slightly larger due to the more expensive projects starting. For every $1 spent by the county, another $3.50 is provided by grants or outside funding, Zarecor said.

The six-year plan is intended to guide the planning and implementation of transportation improvements, according to the 2022-27 plan.

Projects that are scheduled for the later years of the plan are often more general. All of the funding for projects starting next year is already secured, Zarecor said.

One new project coming in 2023 is a roundabout at 57th Avenue and Freya Street. Construction will start next spring, with the hope it will be open for traffic by the fall.

Besides the roundabout, improvements include adding pedestrian access and improving stormwater facilities, signage and illumination.

The project will cost about $1.2 million, with 60% coming from grants.

The county decided a roundabout would be better than the current stop signs at the intersection to accommodate growth in traffic and pedestrian volumes, Zarecor said.

Another one of the most anticipated projects starting next year is phase two of the Bigelow Gulch and Forker Corridor.

The second phase of the multiyear project includes realignment and widening the connection between Project 1 at Havana Street and Project 3 at Weile Road. All of the projects are part of the Bigelow Gulch/Forker Corridor Improvement, which realigns, widens and reconstructs the freight route that connects at Sullivan Road and Wellesley Avenue. The corridor will eventually connect Spokane and east Spokane Valley, bypassing Interstate 90.

The second phase will start in spring and will focus on removing curves and fixing elevation changes.

“It will be a very welcomed change, make that corridor much quicker and safer for people to be traveling,” Zarecor said.

The goal is to have this corridor open to traffic by 2024, but the exact dates of a road shutdown to accommodate construction are still up in the air.

The county is trying to plan for the shortest amount of closures on the road as possible.

The total cost for Bigelow Gulch Project 2 will cost about $15 million, but only about $1.1 million is coming from county dollars, with most of it coming from federal and state grants.

The projects in the six-year plan are spread out throughout the county in urban and rural areas with an emphasis on cost-efficient improvements for existing roads. It also includes recurring projects, such as preservation projects, traffic control sign and signal improvements and small bridge projects, according to the plan.

Zarecor said there’s a lot of “all over the map” proposals, looking at the next six years.

A number of other preservation or roundabout projects are coming in 2023. Here are some highlights for the next year:

  • Bigelow Gulch and Forker Connector Phase 2.
  • 57th Avenue preservation.
  • 57th Avenue and Freya Street roundabout.
  • Lincoln Road from Crestline to Market Street reconstruction.
  • Columbia Drive pavement replacement.
  • Otis Orchards new sidewalk and school flashing lights.
  • Euclid Road bridge replacement.
  • Brooks Road reconstruction.
  • Little Spokane Drive bridge replacement.
  • West Terrace stormwater facilities installation.

Work to watch for

Work on Riverside Avenue downtown will shift beginning Monday, causing closure of the road between Stevens and Wall streets. Stevens Street will be reduced to one lane starting at Spokane Falls Boulevard, and Washington Street will have a single lane closure starting at Riverside Avenue.

The $4 million project will create new bicycle lanes and install stops for the bus rapid transit City Line project by the Spokane Transit Authority. It’s scheduled to be completed this fall.

The eastbound curb lane of Riverside Avenue will be closed between Washington and Browne streets downtown on Tuesday.

The eastbound curb lane of Whistalks Way between River Ridge Boulevard and Randolph Road will close Tuesday through Oct. 24.

Laurel Demkovich's reporting for The Spokesman-Review is funded in part by Report for America and by members of the Spokane community. This story can be republished by other organizations for free under a Creative Commons license. For more information on this, please contact our newspaper’s managing editor.

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