Al Gilson, Communications Manager
WSDOT Eastern Region
2714 N. Mayfair
Spokane, WA 99207
For Francis Avenue travelers, there are about to be a lot fewer bumps in the road. The temporary detour over the railroad tracks is coming to an end, as traffic will begin flowing across the new bridge in mid-November.
During the past year, contractor crews working with the Washington State Department of Transportation removed the existing 160-foot-long bridge and replaced it with a 450-foot-long span to provide room for BNSF Railway and North Spokane Corridor (NSC) to pass underneath. Cars and trucks have been using a nearby detour with an at-grade railroad crossing.
“It’s important for people to be able to use the new bridge this winter,” said Keith Metcalf, WSDOT regional administrator. “But we aren’t finished just yet. There’s still a lot of work to do, and the contractor will keep at it if the weather holds.”
Opening the new bridge means traffic can move off the temporary detour and crews can start on the next project: realigning the railroad tracks.
A “Celebration of Progress” event is planned for Friday, Nov. 15, at 1:30 p.m. to mark the opening. The event will be held on the new Francis Avenue Bridge. Limited parking is available on the west end of the new bridge, and carpooling to the event is encouraged. Access is available at the Market Street end of the bridge. A flagger will direct vehicles to the site.
Over the winter, crews will complete pedestrian fencing, permanent signal systems, striping, curbing and sidewalks. Traffic on Francis Avenue and Market Street will be reduced to one lane in each direction, giving the contractor room to work while still allowing traffic to use the bridge. Some left-turn restrictions will still be needed at the Market/Francis intersection. The project will be complete in summer 2014.
Construction has been underway since October 2012. This project is the first of six construction phases needed to complete the NSC between the Spokane River and Francis Avenue. Graham Construction and Management of Spokane is the prime contractor on this $14 million project.