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August 2012

From the Regional Administrator
Keith Metcalf 

Welcome to our August 2012 newsletter. This month we update you on the North Spokane Corridor, our summer projects, and US 195 pavement repairs.

If you have any questions on items in this newsletter, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Give me a call at (509) 324-6010 or drop me an e-mail at .

Keith Metcalf
Regional Administrator

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North Spokane Corridor hits another milestone

There’s more progress to report on the North Spokane Corridor (NSC). During the weekend of August 24-25, contractor crews moved traffic onto the new southbound lanes between Francis/Freya and Farwell Road. The move included the opening of the second Freya Street roundabout at the south end of the job. For the past three years vehicles traveling north and south have been using the northbound side of the freeway in a temporary configuration, now drivers are traveling on a fully divided freeway.

There’s still some work to do. The contractor will now concentrate on the remaining striping for the southbound side, removing temporary lines and restriping the northbound side of the freeway, then open both sides up to the final configuration of three through lanes in each direction. The Freya to Farwell/Southbound Lanes project was funded through the Federal TIGER Grant program with US Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood helping break ground on the project in 2010. Mr. LaHood was back in Spokane in August for a tour of the entire NSC project and saw the results of how that grant money was used. Next up is the completion of the Parksmith Road Interchange. We expect that work to be finished up in September. This is also a TIGER-funded project and will mark the full completion of the northern 5.5 miles of the NSC. We’re planning a celebration to mark this achievement, so look for an announcement fairly soon.

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Construction Project Updates

There is still a lot of highway construction work to complete before our crews and the contractors call it quits for the 2012 season. Probably the job that affects drivers the most is the US 395/Columbia River Bridge repair project near Kettle Falls. There is a temporary signal controlling alternating traffic 24 hours a day, plus when the contractor is pouring concrete for the new deck sections, drivers should be aware of some evening and overnight full closures. Advance notice of these closures is provided on variable message signs near the bridge and on our weekly Construction and Traffic Alert.

Widening work on I-90 between Sullivan Road and Barker Road wrapped up earlier this summer, and our asphalt paving work between Four Lakes and Geiger Blvd. is in the final phases with paving complete and just shoulder work, striping, rumble strips, and signing left on the schedule.

On the I-90/Downtown to Geiger Blvd. project the full final grinding work still needs to be finished. The contractor will return after Labor Day to complete the final pavement smoothing. That will eliminate the uneven pavement grinding segments and bumpy concrete repairs. Other paving projects that are under way include US 195 near Colfax, where the paving is complete with sidewalk modifications, striping, rumble strips, and signing remaining.

Up in Ferry County on SR 21, the contractor is still working near Curlew on a culvert replacement and paving job. The 2012 Chip Seal project involved work on 155 miles of rural highways. Most of the main work is complete with some pavement repair and striping in a few sections still on the schedule.
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US 195 pavement repair

We’ve received a lot of comments about the pavement condition on the southbound lanes of US 195 from I-90 to the vicinity of Hatch Road. This section of highway has become extremely rough this summer and is definitely showing its age.

Built in three stages in 1955, 1959, and 1964, the pavement has worn significantly and is now scheduled for a major rehabilitation project in 2015. To help out until then, our maintenance team has been grinding down the large bumps in the concrete pavement and is covering a number of sections with Hot Mix Asphalt patches.

While this isn’t a perfect solution, it should hold the road together over the next couple of years.