Plans and process
The North Spokane Corridor was originally conceived in the mid-1940s as an alternate north/south route through the city of Spokane. Currently, the only north/south routes include a series of lights that slow and stop traffic while traveling between downtown Spokane and Wandermere. The limited access corridor was chosen to keep the movement of freight and goods off city streets. Once completed, this projected will decrease travel time, fuel usage and congestion while improving safety by reducing collisions on local arterials.
At completion, this project will connect to US 395 at Wandermere and US 2 to the north and connect to I-90 near the Freya/Thor interchange to the south. This will create a 60-mile per hour, 10.5-mile-long north/south limited access facility. Interchanges will be located at Wellesley Avenue and Trent Avenue (SR 290) in addition to the ones already complete at Francis/Freya Street, Parksmith Drive, US 2, and US 395 at Wandermere.
Benefits and needs
Travel time between Wandermere and I-90 will be shortened to approximately 12 minutes. The NSC is a free-flowing freeway that will not conflict with schools, parks, or shopping areas. Fewer trucks on arterial roadways through the city of Spokane will result in cleaner air because drivers will no longer need to stop at lights or intersections. Each year the US 395 corridor carries 7.2 million tons of freight ($13.5 billion) through Spokane. Between 1993 and 2003 freight shipments increased by 58%.
Constructing the North Spokane Corridor will create the opportunity for adjacent commercial and industrial development with approximately 2,100 acres of land located along the route. The NSC will also improve safety and reduce collisions with an estimated $22 million per year in avoided societal costs.
Since the NSC is a multi-modal corridor, the Children of the Sun trail system will connect into the Centennial Trail and other established trail systems along with other neighborhoods.
Originally conceived in 1946, it has taken more than 50 years of research, planning, legislation and public input to gain approval for the North Spokane Corridor.
1956 – The first plans for the north-south freeway were adopted with an estimated cost of $13 million. In 1958, however, interstate freeways were prioritized over a north-south freeway.
1970 – SMATS and Department of Highways released “Corridor Study for North Spokane and North Suburban Area Freeway.” It was recommended at the time to place the North Spokane Corridor in the Nevada-Helena Corridor.
1972 – Completion of the Department of Highways Environmental Statement for the Nevada-Helena Corridor but the document was never approved.
1974 – Funding for the North Spokane Corridor was deleted from the state budget.
1985 – The Spokane Regional Council identified a lack of regional facilities on the north side of Spokane as a major problem.
1986 – The Spokane Regional Council request WSDOT to perform the “North Spokane Transportation Study – Short & Long Term Studies.”
1988 – Both studies are completed and the recommendation is to build a North Spokane Corridor along Market Street with an estimated cost of $400 million.
1991 – Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) is formed for the North Spokane Corridor project.
1995 – A draft of the Environmental Impact Statement was completed. The 900-page document was circulated to officials, community groups and distributed. A formal hearing was held in late 1995 to allow for public testimony and written comments to be incorporated into the document.
1997 – On Apr. 3, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) is approved, and on Nov. 20, the Record of Decision is issued by FHWA allowing the design and build to begin on the North Spokane Corridor.
2000 – Washington State Legislature approves supplemental biennial budget which allocated funding for design work and purchasing of right-of-way in the Hawthorne Road vicinity.
2001 – Groundbreaking for the North Spokane Corridor and the first project: Hawthorne Road to Farwell Road happened on Aug. 22.
2003 – Washington State Legislature approves a 5-cents per gallon gas tax increase to give $189 million in funding to the North Spokane Corridor.
2009 – On Aug. 22, the ribbon is cut for the Francis Avenue to Farwell Road section. This opened the first 3.5-mile section of drivable roadway with one lane in each direction.
2011 – On Nov. 16, the North Spokane Corridor and US 2 interchange opens to traffic.
2012 – On Oct. 2, the entire north half of the North Spokane Corridor is fully open to traffic completing the first 5.5 miles of roadway. The adjacent Children of the Sun Trail is also open from Freya Street to the Wandermere Interchange.
2015 – The NSC is fully funded through the Connecting Washington package passed by the legislature.
2018 – Work progresses south of Francis Avenue with the construction of a new segment: Columbia to Freya.
2019 – In late September, a groundbreaking was held to celebrate the 2nd BSNF Railroad Realignment Project which would move the BNSF railroad tracks and make way for the NSC to be built to the Spokane River.
2021 – Several NSC projects will begin including the first raised segment and the first portion to be constructed south of the Spokane River near Spokane Community College and the extension of the shared use path (Children of the Sun Trail).
For information about ongoing community engagement please visit nscplace.com or contact -
Region Planning & Strategic Community Engagement Manager