Old Spokane Viaduct About to Get a Facelift

By the end of this week all South Spokane Street Viaduct traffic is expected to be traveling on the newly built portion of the structure, so that the old portion can then get refurbished.  Westbound traffic has been on the new portion of the West Seattle Bridge since December of 2011 so this shift adds eastbound traffic to the mix. 

It’s a tight squeeze, so much so that there’s no room left to allow for a merge lane up into the four lanes meaning the new First Avenue on-ramp cannot yet open for use, and the speed limit must be temporarily be reduced from 35 to 25 MPH. 

Work to repair and resurface the old bridge deck is set for end-of-summer completion, at which time all ramps (Woo-hoo! New westbound on/off-ramp goes into service!) and roadways on the project will be fully open for use and the speed limit will return to normal.  Other remaining work on this behemoth of a project includes reconstruction of the intersections of Spokane and First Avenue as well as Spokane and East Marginal Way.

Like a complicated game of Tetris many pieces have had to fall into place within very short time windows, since project construction began the fall of 2008.  An unexpected delay came six months ago when the fabrication of very unique steel girders turned out to be a challenge, bumping overall project completion from the spring of 2012 to the summer of 2012.  Still, construction as a whole is 85 percent complete and the light is most definitely at the end of the tunnel (no plans for a tunnel, fyi).