WSDOT Awards Contract For Next North Spokane Corridor Project - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSDOT Awards Contract For Next North Spokane Corridor Project

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Washington State Department of Transportation has awarded the latest work on the North Spokane Corridor project to Graham Construction and Management of Spokane.

The 3.7-mile project, scheduled to start this year and be completed by early 2012, will add the full southbound lanes between Francis Avenue and Farwell Road, a segment currently open with limited traffic. Five new bridges are part of the work.

The winning bid, among four, was $21,455,920. All the bids were lower than the engineer's estimate of nearly $24.5 million.

"The North Spokane Corridor is an important project for the region's economy, putting people to work now. It's good for commuters, businesses and freight," said Gov. Chris Gregoire. "With the winning bid coming in below cost estimates, this is a great example of stretching more value out of our taxpayer dollars."

This section will complete all the travel lanes for the north half of the 10-mile North Spokane Corridor.

Secretary of Transportation Paula Hammond said the project will improve mobility by allowing motorists and freight to move north and south through metropolitan Spokane, from I-90 to US 395 at Wandermere.

"It will decrease travel time, fuel usage and congestion," Hammond said. "And it will improve safety by reducing collisions on local arterials. This truly will be a major milestone for Spokane when it opens."

The highway is considered a multi-modal corridor. It maximizes vehicle capacity and contributes to freight-hauling competitiveness by moving vehicles and freight traffic away from local arterials and onto a free-flowing highway. It supports alternative transportation choices by providing park-and-ride lots, enough right-of-way for high-capacity transit, and a pedestrian/bicycle trail along its full length.

This is the second time WSDOT has opened bids for the project. The first bids were opened in April, and at that time, all bids were rejected due to ambiguity in the bid documents related to the "Buy American" certification.

This project is funded through the Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. Just $1.5 billion was made available through this program with more than 1,400 projects totaling more than $50 billion submitted from all 50 states. The North Spokane Corridor work was submitted along with two other projects in Washington State in a national competitive process for funding. The TIGER grant is a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Washington's TIGER grant was for $35 million. With the funds remaining, the state will petition the Federal Highway Administration to put the monies to further use in the corridor.

The Francis-to-Farwell project adds three lanes, creating a fully divided highway. Traffic is already driving on the completed northbound side of the North Spokane Corridor with one lane in each direction.

The full North Spokane Corridor project provides numerous benefits to the Spokane community and regional travelers:

  • The corridor is a high-speed, free-flowing highway. Travel time between Wandermere and I-90 will be shortened to approximately 12 minutes. 
  • Fewer trucks will be on the local arterials because they will be using the corridor for north and south destinations. 
  • Spokane will have cleaner air because drivers won't stop and idle at intersections.
  • The corridor provides a safe bicycle/pedestrian trail that connects to the Centennial Trail and other established trail systems, as well as neighborhoods within the Spokane area.
  • The corridor creates jobs that will improve the economic vitality of the region.

Environmental studies for the North Spokane Corridor began in 1991 and were approved by the Federal Highway Administration in 1997, clearing the way for design and construction to begin.  Construction started in 2001 with the first grading contract. A series of eight large building contracts began in 2004, with the last two of those eight jobs still under way.

 

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