Spokane Journal of Business

City plans road, bridge work on Freya corridor

About $5 million in projects could start next year if state, federal funds are received

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Next year could bring the start of about $5 million worth of street and bridge improvements to help accommodate increasing traffic on Freya Street, in East Spokane.

If federal and state funds are secured, design work will start in 2000 on a couplet system on Freya and Thor streets at the base of the South Hill, reconstruction of Freya from Sprague Avenue north to the bridge that carries it over the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad tracks, and rehabilitation of that bridge. The tentative timeline is set out in the city of Spokanes six-year street plan.

The city will apply next month for state and federal funds to help pay for creation of the proposed eight-block-long Thor-Freya couplet, says Jerry Sinclair, a senior engineer at the city. Design and construction of the couplet is estimated to cost about $1.2 million.

Sinclair says the city expects to hear next spring whether it will receive the state and federal monies, and could begin design work then. Construction would start in 2001 or 2002, he says.

The couplet would route traffic north on Freya and south on Thor roughly between Eighth Avenue and Sprague. Sinclair says the exact points at which northbound and southbound traffic would be separated and where crossover points would be located havent been decided yet.

Residents of the East Central Neighborhood have been working with the citys transportation department for some time to develop a plan to handle increasing traffic there and to ensure easy access to I-90, Sinclair says. Traffic concerns and plans to allay them were spurred further by a recent change to the citys comprehensive land-use plan that will allow for a Fred Meyer Inc. store to be built at the southwest corner of Thor and Third Avenue.

In a separate project, the city wants to start design work on a $3.2 million reconstruction of Freya between Sprague and the bridge that carries Freya over the collection of railroad tracks near the former Stockland Union Stockyard.

The project would include the installation of a durable concrete intersection at Freya and Springfield Avenue, just south of that bridge.

That project would be separated into two phases, one that would include work from Sprague to Alki Avenue, and the other from Alki to the bridge over the railroad, which is located between Springfield and Desmet avenues, Sinclair says. New asphalt paving would be installed along that entire stretch. The bridge would undergo repairs separately.

Sinclair says the city has budgeted $400,000 for the project and has applied for federal funds distributed through the Spokane Regional Transportation Council (SRTC) to pay for the rest of the project. He says the Freya project is now high on SRTCs prioritized waiting list.

If the design phase were to start next year, construction could begin the year after. The six-year plan lists the project as being completed in 2004.

Work is also expected to begin next year on a $755,000 rehabilitation of the bridge that carries northbound traffic on Freya over the railroad tracks. A separate bridge carries southbound traffic.

Sinclair says the city has received preliminary approval for federal bridge replacement funds to pay for the rehabilitation of the northbound bridge, but is still awaiting final word. Construction could start by 2001.

The bridge project would involve replacement of bearing pads and expansion jointsboth components that allow small movements within the bridge, such as those caused by temperature changes. The bridge also would be repaved with new asphalt.

Sinclair says the bridge that carries the southbound lanes of Freya over the railroad will receive similar repairs, but funding hasnt been sought for that work yet. The six-year plan estimates the cost of that work at slightly more than $700,000, and anticipates the work would be done in 2002 and 2003.

  • Anita Burke

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