by TIM BROSS and DOUG NADVORNICK & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & W & lt;/span & hile the on-the-ground work of building the North Spokane Corridor is confined to the north end of the project, state transportation officials are now starting the process of securing the right-of-way for the southern end, where the new freeway will join Interstate 90. Officials from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), armed with money from the legislature, are negotiating to buy residential properties on the north side of I-90, between the Liberty Park interchange east to Thor-Freya, where the two freeways will be joined.
Department officials will explain where they are in that process during an open house on Thursday from 3-7 pm at the East Central Community Center. There will be no formal presentation. People can stop by at their convenience, look at drawings and ask questions of DOT engineers and real estate buyers.
Construction on the north end of the project began in August 2001. Crews are now building bridges over streets and railroad lines in the area mostly east and north of the old Kaiser Aluminum Mead plant and realigning existing streets and improving intersections from Francis, in the Freya/Market area, north to Gerlach Road.
WSDOT spokesman Al Gilson says the first section of the freeway should be completed by 2009. The second section should be finished by 2011. Gilson says WSDOT started construction on the north end because it was cheaper to buy the property there where it was less developed. "We wanted to get the biggest bang for the taxpayer's buck," he says.
The Washington Department of Transportation open house will run on Thursday, June 28, from 3-7 pm at the East Central Community Center, 500 S. Stone St.