SPOKANE, Wash. — What might seem like a never-ending construction project, the North Spokane Corridor (NSC) project is beginning to move closer to completion.
WSDOT recently received a directive to accelerate the completion date to 2028 from 2030. The $1.5 billion dollar freeway is one of Washington state’s largest transportation projects.
Right now, about 5.5-miles of the 10.5-mile freeway is complete. By the summer of 2023, contractors hope to finish the Wellesley interchange, which would open up 7.5-miles drivers can start using before the entire project is complete.
When complete, the NSC will be a 60-mile-per-hour, north/south freeway. It will run from I-90 at the south and connect to US 2 and US 395 on the north end.
The project map shows what’s under construction now and what’s next. The darker blue portion is in progress right now, when it's complete it will stop on the north side of the Spokane River.
This is one of the more complicated sections of the project, the Spokane River Crossing to the south side of the river at Spokane Community College. WSDOT provided renderings to KREM 2 of what it could look like. While these are not finalized, WSDOT said it gives people an idea of how the pieces will connect over the river.
North Spokane Corridor Spokane River Crossing Renderings
"What is missing is the link between them. That is the iconic Spokane River Crossing. And it will go on advertisement in the fall of 2022. It will connect the pieces that are under construction north and south of the river,” Robert Blegen, Assistant Regional Manager on the NSC project said.
Blegen said the pandemic created new challenges contractors were forced to navigate.
"Well, challenges have been abundant. All the way back to the statewide shutdown of construction projects two years ago, when the pandemic initially hit its stride," Blegen said.
As for the timeline of the NSC, Blegen said they are still on track to finish early.
"We recently received directive to work to accelerate the completion of the North Spokane Corridor from the 2030 ending up to 2028," Blegen said.
The next three projects are south of SCC. These are the green and orange sections of the project map and are set to begin by 2024. When it's done the freeway will bring drivers to Sprague Avenue. Then, the final phase is the yellow, from Sprague Avenue all the way to I-90. While the interchange design at I-90 is still in progress, WSDOT said it will look like an interchange similar to freeways on the westside of Washington state.
"Where you can flow at relatively high speeds from the corridor onto dedicated lanes and merge onto the interstate without interruption," Blegen said.
Here's a timeline of future projects provided by WSDOT:
- North Spokane Corridor – Spokane River Crossing – Construction to begin in 2023
- This project will construct the North Spokane Corridor bridge that will cross the Spokane River and connect the skyway portion near Spokane Community College to the south and at Carslie Avenue to the north of the river.
- North Spokane Corridor – Sprague to Spokane River – Phase 2 & 3 – Construction to begin in 2023
- This project will add a new segment of the North Spokane Corridor from Mission Avenue south to Sprague Avenue just north of its final terminus with I-90. The project includes a southbound off-ramp to SR 290/Trent Ave. and a northbound on-ramp from SR 290/Trent Ave.
- North Spokane Corridor – Sprague to I-90 - Construction begins in 2024
- This is the final project for the North Spokane Corridor. This project will connect the NSC to I-90 just west of the Freya/Thor interchange. Once complete the North Spokane Corridor will be fully operational from I-90 up to Wandermere.