A dangerous intersection is one step closer to being made safer.
The city of Spokane Valley has received a $1.68 million grant from the Washington State Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board to help fund improvements to a 1.3-mile section of north Barker Road between the Spokane River and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe at-grade railroad crossing adjacent to Trent Avenue.
Washington State FMSIB is charged with creating a comprehensive and coordinated state program to facilitate freight movement between and among local, national and international markets which enhances trade opportunities. The Board also works to identify solutions that lessen the impact of the movement of freight on local communities. The FMSIB grant funds will be included in the state’s 2019-2021 biennium budget.
The city has been seeking funding to improve the entire Barker Road transportation corridor, which serves an increasing amount of commercial traffic connecting State Route 290 (Trent Avenue) to Interstate 90 and growing residential traffic from neighborhoods to the north and east of the corridor. Specifically, north Barker Road provides a gateway for freight trucks to access a large industrial park in the area and an additional 600 acres of industrial land targeted for future development.
The corridor improvement is timely because the city recently secured funding to construct an overpass and eliminate the at-grade railroad crossing on north Barker Road, as well as replace the Barker/Trent Avenue intersection with a safer roundabout – a project estimated at $19 million and tentatively scheduled to begin construction in 2020.
Improvements slated for the section of north Barker Road between the river and the BNSF railroad crossing are projected to cost $9 million. Improvements include widening the existing north-south lanes to 12-feet and creating a two-way, center left-turn lane which will reduce traffic delays and improve overall safety. The addition of a separated shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists will also provide a safer route for non-motorized users, reducing the risk of vehicle conflicts and promoting non-motorized transportation along the corridor. In addition, the section of Barker Road will be repaved, creating a stronger, smoother and quieter road surface for vehicles. These changes, combined with the construction of the BNSF railroad overpass and roundabout, will significantly improve traffic flow and make the arterial easier and safer to navigate.
The $1.68 million FMSIB grant provides a starting point for funding the north Barker Road corridor project, but the city will need to secure additional funding before it can move forward with final engineering and construction.