No guardrails along Spokane River embankment where crash happene - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

No guardrails along Spokane River embankment where crash happened

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

A city employee who drove off an embankment near Northwest Blvd near Providence is doing better.  His condition has improved to critical but stable, but he is still badly injured.    

Along Northwest Blvd there are no guardrails or barriers except for a small section where the road intersects with Garland.  The area where the driver went over the edge is completely open. 

"That's a long way down there," says Jeff Carlson who lives across the street.  "There's a road, there's trees, all kinds of stuff."   Carlson was shocked when he heard what happened.   "It's amazing he didn't die."

Carlson and others who live in the neighborhood says Northwest Blvd is a safe road to travel.  Many of them could only recall one other incident that was similar to Monday's crash happening in all the years they've lived there.    

"A couple years ago a lady in a van kind went off the side," says Carlson.  "She didn't go over the hill but she went off the road." 

I asked the city's engineering and streets departments if after the most recent wreck barriers should be put up along Northwest Blvd.

The city said it's up to engineering judgment if barriers are put in.  Overlooking the bluffs along that road they don't think guardrails or other barriers are necessary.  There are a few reasons why.  It's an urban area with between 40 - 60 feet of runoff area.  Other things they look at are whether there's a curve, bike lane, or parking because those are things that could allow time for a car to correct it's course. 

At this point the City of Spokane says there will be no changes made to the road and neighbors in the area tend to agree with that decision. 

"I think it's a very safe area for driving even without any special sort of retaining wall or curbs or anything like that," says Sherri McFarland who has lived in the neighborhood for 23 years.      

The investigation into what caused the city employee to drive over the edge is ongoing.

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