Friday, July 1, 2011

Interstate 90 Spokane area bridge work coming in July

The Havana Bridge, one of the bridges
that will be resurfaced in this project.
by guest blogger Ann Briggs

What happens when you squeeze more than 100,000 vehicles a day into just two lanes in each direction of freeway?  Drivers on Interstate 90 in Spokane, just east of the downtown area, will find out on Monday, July 11, when crews give two freeway bridges some much-needed repairs and resurfacing.

We last refurbished these two bridges in 1984. Since then, the daily pounding of about 110,000 vehicles has taken its toll, and the two spans need some extra attention. Contractor crews will remove the asphalt surface and repair the underlying concrete bridge deck and approach slabs on the Altamont Street and Havana Street structures on the busiest segment of I-90 in Eastern Washington. The 24 hours-per-day lane restrictions will remain in place until the project’s completion.

So what are we doing to keep traffic moving? It’s a tough challenge to keep traffic flowing and reduce the potential for collisions. Our traffic engineers took a real close look at how to manage the through traffic, while making room for people to get on and off the freeway, and found it just didn’t add up.  So to keep I-90 from total gridlock, we’re reducing I-90’s four lanes to only two lanes of traffic in the 1.4-mile section between the two bridges, and closing several on and off ramps. Because many drivers will choose to use Second and Third as alternate routes, closing the on and off ramps will keep vehicles from causing collisions while trying to get on the freeway and traffic trying to get off the freeway from backing up into the mainline.

A project diagram with specific lane and ramp closure information is available on the Spokane Freeway Fix website.

West Company, Inc. of Airway Heights is the prime contractor for this $1.7 million project. To get the job done as quickly as possible and minimize the traffic headaches for drivers, their crews will be working 24-hours a day Monday through Saturday. The contract includes a bonus if the contractor finishes the work ahead of schedule.

We also have a major project on the Sunset Hill to the west of downtown Spokane and a freeway widening project east of Spokane near Liberty Lake. We want everyone to get home safely, so please be extra careful when you are in the “cone zone” and watch for reduced speed limit signs on some of these jobs.

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