Eye of the TIGER
A limited-access highway being built in north Spokane has received $35 million from a federal economic stimulus program that will pay for a 3.7-mi stretch of roadway and could generate up to 106 jobs.
The North Spokane Corridor is expected to be a 60mph, 10.5-mi-long highway linking Interstate 90 on the south end to existing U.S. Highway 2 and U.S. Highway 395 on the north end. The corridor is ranked 19th out of 80 on the Congressional High Priority Corridor List for the National Highway System and carries more than 7.2 million tons of freight through Spokane every year.
NSC is one of the Washington Dept. of Transportation’s five “megaprojects,” with a $2.2-billion price tag based on 2008 dollars, says department spokesperson Al Gilson. NSC is the only state megaproject in eastern Washington.
The other state megaprojects are State Route 99 Alaskan Way Viaduct, Interstate 90 Snoqualmie Pass East, Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing/Vancouver and the State Route 520 Bridge Replacement.
The new multimodal-corridor NSC will be built to keep cars and freight traffic away from local arterials and onto a free-flowing freeway. There are currently no multilane, high-speed roadways in the Spokane area. All north-south traffic moves on surface arterials with only two allowing nonlocal truck traffic, Gilson said.
The $35-million in federal funding under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery will be used to complete the southbound lanes between Francis Avenue and Farwell Road. This TIGER grant also will be used for the completion of earthwork for the southbound alignment from Farwell Road to Francis Avenue; construction of five mainline bridges; a grade-separated crossing for a bicycle/pedestrian trail with Lincoln Road; a Portland Cement Concrete driving surface for the entire southbound lane alignment; and a roundabout at the southbound Freya Street off-ramp.
The TIGER grant includes two counties, Ferry and Stevens, with the highest unemployment rates in Washington State. A third county, Pend Oreille, ranks fifth for the highest unemployment percentage in the state. Spokane and Colville Indian reservations are within these counties.
“This is a huge win for a project that has long been the centerpiece of efforts to boost Spokane’s economy and create local jobs,” says U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairman of the Senate Transportation Appropriations Committee. “The North Spokane Corridor is exactly the type of project I had in mind when working to create this...