The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) yesterday announced that they, along with BNSF Railway, Husky, and the Washington State Department of Ecology have agreed on a framework for the environmental cleanup of the “Black Tank” contamination area in northeast Spokane that is within the alignment of the North Spokane Corridor freeway project.

In a news release, WSDOT officials said the agency will continue design and construction of the North Spokane Corridor freeway in a way that aligns WSDOT’s legislative funding and construction schedule with Ecology’s obligation to make sure the site is thoroughly cleaned up. The framework outlines right of way access provisions to the BNSF property needed to keep the freeway within the approved project footprint, and as close as possible to WSDOT’s original Final Environmental Impact Statement plan.

All the stakeholders involved actively worked with the community and heard their desire to avoid an elevated freeway going around the cleanup site. The new framework avoids several community-voiced concerns, including effects to neighborhood aesthetics, the need for more expensive bridges and infrastructure maintenance costs. The timeframe for the cleanup of the Black Tank site is twenty years and includes performance expectations and metrics.

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