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September 2012

From the Regional Administrator
Keith Metcalf 

Welcome to our September 2012 newsletter. This month we have included the latest North Spokane Corridor news, I-90 grinding, the new Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange, and an update on the MV Sanpoil.

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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Parksmith interchange and Southbound Lanes completion marks halfway point in North Spokane Corridor project

The new Parksmith Road interchange will open to traffic on Tuesday, Oct. 2, marking the completion of the first half of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC) just north of Spokane.  Last month, the Francis to Farwell/Southbound Lanes project also wrapped up, resulting in 5.7 miles of the planned 10 ½ mile corridor open to traffic.

We have reached a significant milestone. We’re now only five miles away from linking the NSC with Interstate 90.  Completing the northern half of the NSC will help speed up north/south freight traffic in the Spokane metro area. Truckers on the US 395 corridor can cut 15 to 20 minutes off their travel time by using the NSC, then connecting to the Market, Greene and Freya route. Drivers will only encounter 11 traffic signals instead of plodding along on Division Street through 29 signalized intersections and countless business approaches.

Contractor crews working for WSDOT built more than three miles of new southbound freeway lanes, bridges, and interchange on/off-ramps between Francis and Farwell Roads near Mead, including the new Parksmith Road interchange. The work included two new pedestrian/bicycle bridges and Children of the Sun trail connections.
Graham Construction and Management of Spokane was the prime contractor on the Francis to Farwell project, and Max J. Kuney Company of Spokane was the prime contractor for the Parksmith Interchange project. Funding for these projects came from the $35 million American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act, TIGER Grant.

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Francis Avenue Bridge replacement is next North Spokane Corridor construction project

Construction work gets under way during the first week of October on the newest North Spokane Corridor (NSC) project, the Francis Avenue Bridge Replacement and Intersection Improvements. This project is the first of six construction phases needed to complete the NSC between the Spokane River and Francis Avenue. The existing 160 foot-long Francis Avenue bridge will be removed and replaced by a new structure with a 450 foot span to provide room for the BNSF Railway and NSC facilities to pass underneath. During construction, a temporary route, with an at-grade railroad crossing, will be in place for Francis Avenue traffic. The new bridge is scheduled to open to traffic in 2014.

Graham Construction and Management of Spokane is the prime contractor on this $14 million project.

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US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange

The new interchange on US 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road is getting closer to construction. The Department is now advertising for construction contractor bids. The bid opening is scheduled for Thursday, November 1. Most of the construction work will take place in 2013 and the interchange should open late in that year.

The completed interchange with the overpass bridge and on/off ramps will eliminate left turns at this location, improving safety for the public.

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I-90/Sunset Hill work resumes

We’ve received a few calls from drivers wondering when this concrete repair and pavement smoothing project on Sunset Hill west of downtown Spokane would start back up. Our contractor got back on site in late September with their concrete grinding machines. The lanes will now be ground smooth over the full width of the freeway, eliminating the concrete patch bumps and the remaining rutted wheel tracks. The contractor is working during evening and overnight hours to minimize traffic disruption. Don’t forget, when work is underway, the legal speed limit is dropped to 50 m.p.h.

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MV Sanpoil construction progress

The new ferry vessel for the Keller route, the MV (Motor Vessel) Sanpoil is under construction at the Foss Maritime boatyard near Longview, WA.
Specialized marine craftsmen are building the vessel. The hull is starting to take shape with welders attaching large aluminum plates to the support framing. It’s expected that the vessel modules will be moved up to Grand Coulee for final assembly early next year with the launch still planned for summer.