Plans are under way to build a $12 million bridge that would carry Havana Street over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks that lie just north of Broadway Avenue on the citys eastern edge.
Construction bids for the project could be sought late next year, with work beginning soon thereafter and taking up to two years to complete, says Glenn Miles, transportation manager at the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC).
Miles says transportation planners would like to have the bridge in place before starting work on the planned replacement of the Freya Street Bridge, which is located a mile to the west and carries Freya over the same tracks.
That way, traffic from Freya, which is part of the second heaviest traveled north-south thoroughfare in Spokane, could be diverted to Havana during construction of the new Freya Bridge, says Jim MacInnis, a project engineer with the city of Spokane. Havana, which is the border between the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley where the bridge will be built, is closed to traffic roughly 18 hours a day due to the high volume of train traffic that crosses the street.
The planned Havana Street overpass project got a boost earlier this month when the SRTC decided to allocate $4.5 million in federal Surface Transportation Fund money to the project. The council is authorized to spend roughly $5 million a year from that fund, Miles says.
In November, the Washington state Transportation Improvement Board set aside an additional nearly $2 million for the overpass project.
Although additional matching money is expected from Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Spokane County, and the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, the biggest remaining funding piece for the project is a $4 million request before the state Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board. Describing that money as on the bubble, Miles says the project has been prioritized and recommended for funding to that board by the SRTC, but the funding still must be approved by the Legislature.
Spokane city engineering staff member Dick Raymond says that design work on the overpass, being done by HDR Inc., of Omaha, Neb., is about 30 percent done, but wont be completed unless the Legislature approves the $4 million funding request.
The city of Spokane is investing millions of dollars to upgrade the Freya Street corridor nearby. This year, it rebuilt a six-block section of Freya between Sprague and the Freya Street Bridge to prepare for replacement of the Freya Street Bridge, and also replaced the Freya Way Bridge, which carries traffic along that corridor over another set of tracks a few blocks to the northwest and connects with Greene Street at Mission Avenue.
The city also plans to create a new S-curve connector between Freya and Broadway near the Freya Street Bridge.
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