Spokane County yesterday announced plans for phases 4 and 4A of the Bigelow Gulch Urban Connector Project this year and next. The county has already completed Phases 1 (Havana to near Palmer Road) and 3A (the Bigelow/Argonne intersection).
Today, Bigelow Gulch and Forker Road both consist of two lanes with one-to-three foot paved shoulders. According to a news release from Spokane County, this configuration limits opportunities to pass and increases the chance of collisions. These roads are classified as rural minor arterials and have posted speed limits of 35 to 45 miles per hour (mph).
Work is scheduled to begin late this summer on Phase 4A, which consists of a redesigned intersection where Bigelow and Forker Road meet. In 2018, Phase 4 of the project – from Old Argonne Road to Evergreen Road is scheduled to be built.
County staff say these projects are needed because daily traffic has been increasing on Bigelow and Forker, especially truck and freight traffic. The combination of traffic volume and truck traffic on a narrow, curvy roadway has reportedly led to a high number of accidents, some fatal.
The project will straighten and widen both the existing Bigelow Gulch Road and Forker Road to meet the objectives of improved safety, reduced traffic congestion, and support of state and regional freight mobility initiatives.