WSDOT identifies interim construction plan to open more sections of the North Spokane Corridor - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

WSDOT identifies interim construction plan to open more sections of the North Spokane Corridor

SPOKANE, Wash. - With the first segment of the US 395 North Spokane Corridor slated to open in 2009, and a second segment in 2011, WSDOT is exploring options that would extend work further to the south, opening a drivable section of new highway from Francis Avenue to the Spokane River.

The funded construction that is currently underway puts traffic on a 5.5-mile section of the highway, from US 395 at Wandermere to the vicinity of Francis Avenue.

"We should be adaptable to changing conditions and make adjustments as needed," said Keith Metcalf, WSDOT Eastern Region Administrator. "Factors such as the rising cost of fuel, increasing cost of construction materials and, of course, the economic realities of today require us to be flexible as we move this project forward."

Engineers have identified a variety of opportunities that could produce an interim four-lane roadway for a substantially reduced price tag. Early estimates indicate that such a facility could be opened to traffic for approximately $285-300 million, well below the cost for the originally proposed eight-lane design. The four-lane section would be built to allow for the addition of the final four lanes when traffic volumes and funding warrant.

Along with an interim four-lane configuration, some of the potential money-saving design adjustments could include changes in the adjacent rail lines, on and off ramp locations, retaining wall requirements, and placing the roadway at ground level.

When the North Spokane Corridor Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and subsequent Supplemental EIS were written, engineers created proposed designs based on existing conditions and future assumptions based on those conditions. As with any predictions, these assumptions can be subject to changing conditions.

WSDOT engineers will continue to refine their designs in anticipation of possible funding for this section.

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