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Eastern Region - E-Mail Update Newsletter

May 2017

Welcome to our latest blog post.

As always, if you have any questions on items in this blog, or other transportation issues, please let me know. Give us a call at (509) 324-6010 or send me an email at gribnem@wsdot.wa.gov.

Mike Gribner
Regional Administrator
WSDOT Eastern Region

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Roundabouts coming to US 2 near Spokane

US 2 Roundabout on Newport Highway
(Drawing courtesy of Dowl Engineering)


Some changes are coming to US 2 in the Spokane area this summer.

To the north of Spokane, Kaiser Aluminum Investment Company is developing a large section of land that was once part of their Mead Aluminum plant. The portion of that property adjacent to US 2 is slated for commercial and light industrial development. The development will include the new north side Costco Warehouse which should open later in 2017.

This means more traffic on this portion of US 2, more commonly known as the “Newport Highway” with a lot of those vehicles traveling to the busy Costco store.

As part of their planning phase with Spokane County from 2003 through 2009, the developer conducted a traffic analysis to determine the traffic safety and congestion effects on the highway. The results of the analysis and the recent update for the Costco development indicated that a roundabout would be the best strategy to safely handle the increased traffic at the entrance to the development. Traffic engineers with WSDOT agreed with the study conclusions.

An engineering consulting firm (Dowl Engineering) is working with the developer to design and build a multi-lane roundabout on US 2 and the development entrance, located between Winchester Avenue and Farwell Road on the easterly side of US 2. Construction will be underway this summer and finished prior to the Costco warehouse opening. The consulting engineering firm will manage the private contractor that constructs the new intersection. The project will be fully-funded by the developer, initially with reimbursement through a tax-increment financing district created by Spokane County.

Kaiser and Costco will hold a public informational open house, with designs, construction details, and schedules on Wednesday, May 31 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Northwood Middle School, 13120 N. Pittsburg. There is no formal presentation. Representatives from the developer, construction contractor and WSDOT will be on hand to answer questions.

Another multi-lane roundabout on US 2 will be constructed by the Spokane Tribe of Indians between Airway Heights and Fairchild Air Force Base for access to their development just north of the highway. That project was also a result of a traffic analysis performed as part of their permitting process. Full details on the design and construction of that intersection are not yet available.

At more and more locations here in Washington state, roundabouts are penciling out to be the recommended alternative for safely handling traffic at busy intersections, even on busy, higher speed highways. These two new roundabouts will be the first multi-lane designs in the Spokane area and might take a little getting used to. You can read about roundabouts on the WSDOT Blog and our Roundabout web page.

Mike