Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development
Bridging the north and south areas of Spokane’s University District in the east part of downtown Spokane has long been envisioned, and now it’s becoming a reality.
Construction is slated to begin on Monday, March 13, on the University District Gateway Bridge that will connect the main academic center of the district to areas south of the railroad viaduct. The pedestrian and bicycle bridge will feature a 120-foot central arch, designed to be a new Spokane landmark.
Garco Construction is the contractor on the project. The project will begin with work to clear the site and prepare for more major construction. Traffic restrictions on Martin Luther King Jr. Way adjacent to the project are anticipated periodically throughout the work, which will continue into 2018.
Last fall, Mayor David Condon said the bridge was the “perfect next step” in the execution of the 2004 Master Plan for the University District that said the district was “…a bold vision and plan to attract a critical mass of top students, staff and faculty, cutting-edge researchers, and creative entrepreneurs—all of which are catalysts for increased commercialization of technology, growth in our health care industry, and overall economic prosperity for our region.”
Others point to the opportunities that the bridge will create. The new facility will allow people to walk or bike to academic classes to urban-style housing and to good-paying jobs.
The project is just one of many public investments in this area. Other work includes the reconstruction of Sprague Avenue from Helena to Stone that’s scheduled to begin in April, the extension of the Ben Burr Trail, the extension of Martin Luther King Jr Way to the east, and two concrete tanks along East Riverside to control overflows to the Spokane River from combined sewers. Together, these investments are expected to help spur private development and economic growth.
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