The logic seems simple: Want to lessen cars on one road? Build another nearby.
But according to a still-in-progress, 400-page study on the potential future impacts of a proposed University Road overpass at Interstate 90 and the railroad tracks, traffic would be largely unaffected at congested Argonne or Pines roads.
“If (the overpass) were there, people would use it,” Sean Messner, senior traffic engineer, told the Spokane Valley City Council on Tuesday. “Just not as much as we hoped.”
Instead, Messner suggested a better way to move traffic along the Argonne corridor would be to add another southbound lane, allowing for a right-turn pocket at the freeway and widening the bridge.
A right-right turn pocket on southbound Pines Road at Mission Avenue would also improve the commute in that area, Messner said.
Finally, instead of an overpass that would allow cars to cross over the freeway at University, it might make more sense for a bike/pedestrian bridge near Valley Mission Park that would connect neighborhoods, Messner reported.
Noting the up to $6 million price tag, Mayor Dean Grafos asked why it wouldn’t make more sense just to build a University bridge similar to the overpass at Park Road, especially in light of potential growth in the Painted Hills area.
Messner said that 25-year projections show that most of the use would only be for local traffic in that area and that it would be difficult to secure grant funding.
Still, the city will continue to look for solutions, he said.
“By 2040, we will have lots of congestion if we do nothing,” Messner said.
The council took no action on Tuesday, and the study is expected to be finalized later this year.
The council will have its next formal meeting on April 14. The April 7 meeting has been canceled.