The project began in 2005, and has been completed in stages,
with the Interchange at Bigelow and Forker being the most recent. The entire transportation
corridor is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022.
Spokane County Engineer Chad Coles
commented on the necessity of the project, given the increase in both passenger
and freight traffic and projections that traffic volume will continue to grow.
“It bears repeating that safety is critical to public transportation....this is
a public safety project. Since the late 90s, this corridor has seen
hundreds of crashes resulting in property damage, injuries…and sadly, several
fatalities. The old, narrow roadway was never designed for the current
volume of traffic – and our projections indicated would continue to increase in
the years to come,” Coles said.
Two more phases of the corridor are
scheduled for 2019: the stretch of Bigelow Gulch between the interchange and
Argonne, and the realignment of Forker Road to Sullivan in the Spokane
Valley. The entire corridor from (Francis and Market to Forker Rd.) will
be completed in 2022.
Beginning in 1997, Spokane County
saw daily traffic increasing on Bigelow Gulch
and Forker Roads, especially truck and freight traffic. That combination
of traffic volume and truck traffic on a narrow, curvy roadway has led to a
very high number of accidents, some of them fatal. To make Bigelow Gulch
safer and reduce traffic congestion,
Spokane County proposed a phased plan to widen and improve the roadway and,
when finished, complete the corridor from north Spokane to Spokane
Valley. The project will straighten and widen both the existing Bigelow Gulch Road and Forker Road to meet the objectives of improved safety, reduced traffic congestion, and to support state and regional freight mobility initiatives.
These improvements are referred to as the “Bigelow
Gulch/Forker Urban Connector Project”. Funding for the project has been provided in part by the U.S. Department
of Transportation-Federal Highway Administration, Washington State Department of Transportation, Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, and the County Road Administration Board.
For more information, go to www.spokanecounty.org/2724/Bigelow-GulchForker-Rd-Urban-Connector.
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