Spokane Journal of Business

U.S. 395 set for big road job

$11.2 million project will transform busy stretch into four-lane divided highway

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A Spokane-area contractor will start work in about two weeks on an $11.2 million highway project on U.S. 395 north of Spokane.

The contractor, S.A. Gonzales Construction Inc., of Newman Lake, will transform a two-lane section of U.S. 395 into a four-lane divided highway with a grassy median separating them, says state Department of Transportation spokesman Al Gilson.

The additional lanes will be added to an almost five-mile section of U.S. 395 north of the Little Spokane River to create a divided highway between a bridge that carries the highway over the river near Wandermere Golf Course and the Half Moon Road area. When the project is completed, the newly built stretch will be the only portion of divided highway with a median along U.S. 395 north of Spokane, Gilson says.

As part of the project, a full interchange will be built at the busy intersection of U.S. 395 and Hatch Road.

Work on the project is expected to take about a year and a half to complete, he says. Drivers traveling in the project area should expect some lane restrictions and possible detours or delays.

Near its intersection with Hatch Road, U.S. 395 now has left-turn pockets and deceleration lanes for traffic making right turns off the highway. The new interchange will be diamond-shaped, and a bridge will be built to carry Hatch Road over the highway, Gilson says. The intersections of other roads that cross the highway along that five-mile stretch wont be altered significantly.

Gilson says the DOT planned a full interchange at Hatch Road to serve rapid population growth near there. An additional interchange farther north at the intersection of U.S. 395 and Monroe Road also was planned, but didnt receive funding from the state, he says.

The work is the second phase of a project that has been on DOTs long-term plan for some time, but the project lost funding several years ago. In the $12.9 million first phase of the project, which was completed in November 1994, crews built the bridge that spans the Little Spokane River and added a slow-moving-vehicle lane along a steep section of U.S. 395 north of the bridge.

In its 20-year plan, the DOT has outlined a goal of making U.S. 395 a four-lane, divided highway all the way between Spokane and Loon Lake, Gilson says. Such a road would accommodate local traffic and freight being shipped along the route. U.S. 395 has been designated as an important route for international freight shipments and is receiving growing attention from officials on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. (See related story, page B1.)

Additional work along U.S. 395 between Spokane and Loon Lake will be done as funding is available, Gilson says. He says the next likely project to widen the highway would run about four miles, from the end of the current project near Half Moon Road north to Hamilton Road.

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