North Spokane Corridor

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North Spokane Corridor

U.S. Route 395 North Spokane Corridor
Planned route for the North Spokane Corridor
Route information
Defined by RCW 47.17.%section%
Maintained by WSDOT
Length5.42 mi[1] (8.72 km)
Planned: 10.5 miles (16.9 km)
HistoryFirst segment opened August 22, 2009
Planned completion by 2030[2]
Major junctions
South end I-90 / US 395 in Spokane
Major intersections SR 290 in Spokane
US 2 in Spokane
North end US 395 in Spokane
CountryUnited States
Highway system
SR 339 SR 397

The U.S. Route 395 North Spokane Corridor (NSC) is a 10.5-mile-long (16.9 km) freeway - with 5.42 miles (8.72 km) complete and currently operational – running north–south along the eastern border of Spokane, Washington and parts of unincorporated Spokane County to the north.

The $2.2 billion (2009 dollars) project is designed to improve freight and commuter mobility through the Spokane metropolitan area. As of 2020, only the northern half from Francis Avenue to U.S. Route 395 is open to traffic; the southern half received state funding in 2015 and is anticipated to be completed by 2029.

The project is being managed by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and will ultimately create a freeway with a speed limit of 60 mph (97 km/h) along a new alignment linking Interstate 90 (I-90), to the existing US Route 395 (US 395) 10.5 miles (16.9 km) to the north in the Wandermere area. When completed, the multi-modal facility is expected to have general travel lanes, with right-of-way reserved for a future high-capacity transit system with park-and-ride lots. Additionally, a pedestrian and bicycle trail will run along the entire highway alignment.[3] The project is ranked 19 of 43 on the Congressional High Priority Corridor list of the National Highway System.[4] When completed, the corridor is expected to carry over 150,000 vehicles per day.[5]

Route description

The North Spokane Corridor is part of Washington's state highway system and, upon completion, will fully adopt the US 395 designation. Currently, the WSDOT considers the corridor a spur of US 395 and refers to the roadway as "Future US 395" on its official state highway maps and roadway guide signs.

Looking southbound on US 395 from where the North Spokane Corridor splits from Division Street

The ultimate route of the highway runs from I-90, just east of Downtown Spokane, northward about 10.5 miles (16.9 km) meeting the existing US 395 at Wandermere, just north of Spokane. The northern end of the corridor was constructed as a seamless connection to the existing US 395, rerouting the existing highway onto the North Spokane Corridor. The construction of this interchange replaced the existing alignment of US 395 that flowed directly onto Division Street, with an exit to Division off of the freeway. Because the corridor's northern end ties in with a portion of US 395 that was redeveloped into a limited-access highway in the late 1990s (with the construction of a new bridge over Little Spokane River, a full interchange at Hatch Road, and the creation of median-separated lanes extending 3.3 miles beyond Hatch), the completion of the corridor will create a fully controlled-access highway from the vicinity of Hatch Road to I-90.

The North Spokane Corridor is planned to bypass the busy Division Street corridor. The new freeway will carry the US 395 designation, and run about one mile (1.6 km) east of where it was originally planned in the 1960s and 1970s.

While the new freeway would also be a good routing for US 2 to bypass Spokane, that highway is scheduled to stay on its current routing in order to keep most of Division Street in the state highway system. Nevertheless, it will be easy for motorists on US 2 to avoid this by using the freeway instead of Division Street. On the north side, a full interchange has been constructed at US 2 in the Mead area near Farwell Road. This route uses the entire North Spokane Corridor except the northernmost one mile (1.6 km) section between US 2 and Wandermere. Division street between the "Y" (historical US 395 and US 2 split) and Wandermere will no longer be in the state highway system. This includes about one-half mile of the new section of Division Street just north of Farwell Road.

US 395 NSC near Shady Slope Road and the US 2 Interchange


Plans for a North Spokane Freeway date back to 1946. Earlier projects were cancelled due to other priorities and local opposition. The current project began construction in 2001.

Early plans

The idea of having a freeway run northward through Spokane was originally conceived in 1946 after the Spokane traffic survey that year. The city of Spokane needed some sort of a major north–south traffic facility to relieve congestion. After several reports and studies, the first plans for the freeway were released in 1956 with an estimated cost of just $13 million, however, those plans were quickly shelved in 1958 as the construction of the Interstate Highway System was prioritized over the construction of the north–south freeway. As a result, cheaper alternatives, such as one-way paired couplets, were discussed.

In 1964, the Spokane Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (SMATS) was formed to fulfill requirements of Federal Highway Act of 1962, and in 1970, along with the Department of Highways, released the "Corridor Study for North Spokane and North Suburban Area Freeway". It recommended a north–south freeway along Hamilton and Nevada streets (the corridor between Nevada and Helena). Though a full freeway interchange was built connecting Hamilton Street with I-90 (exit 282/282A, connecting to State Route 290 (SR 290)), residents successfully blocked any further construction through this area.


View of a graded section of the NSC at the north terminus of the project

After 33 years of further discussions and proposals, the final environmental impact statement (FEIS) for the current version of the project was approved in April 1997. The first phase of the NSC, consisting of grading between Hawthorne Road and US 2, broke ground in August 2001.[6] The first ribbon cutting ceremony (for a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) segment of lanes between the Francis/Freya and Farwell interchanges) occurred on the eighth anniversary of the ground breaking, August 22, 2009. To reduce costs, the scope of construction was reduced in 2008, reducing the northmost portion from six lanes to four, eliminating part of the interchange at Wellesley Avenue, and constructing the freeway at ground level, rather than below. This reduced the cost of that portion from $720 million to $285 million, while still allowing for those improvements later.[7]

Aerial photograph from slightly east of south showing progress as of 2013)

On June 13, 2012, the NSC opened a new section from the newly constructed interchange at US 2 to the new Wandermere/US 395 interchanges and lanes that link them, creating a free-flowing freeway segment from the US 395 interchange to the Francis/Freya interchange. All six lanes between US 2 and Francis/Freya are now completed and operational. This segment was completed in 2012 and includes the southbound lane section and a second roundabout for southbound traffic at Freya Street.[8] The final project on the north half of the 10-mile route was the Parksmith Road Interchange.[9] The new interchange, near the community of Mead, was opened in October 2012. The freeway is now fully built from the Freya interchange to the Wandermere interchange. Commuters are also expected to use the newly opened segment as a faster way to access Bigelow Gulch, which leads to Argonne Road, where it leads to I-90. Traffic on Bigelow Gulch Rd is expected to increase.[10]

In Spokane's East Central district, the property acquisition process has been ongoing since June 2010 and includes the acquisition and demolition of 606 homes, businesses and industrial buildings.[11]

The first project in the south half of the corridor, the Francis Avenue Bridge replacement, has been completed and opened to traffic. The project consisted of removing the existing four-lane, 160-foot-long (49 m) bridge and constructing a 455-foot-long (139 m), five-lane structure. The new bridge provides enough space for the future freeway lanes and railway lines to pass under Francis Avenue. The Francis Avenue Bridge opened to traffic in November 2013.[12]

In June 2012, WSDOT received TIGER Grant funding for the next project, which includes further construction of the Children of the Sun Trail into Hillyard, plus realignment of the railroad mainline and spur under the new structure. This phase of construction also includes two new freeway bridges and two new pedestrian/bike access bridges.

In July 2015, the Connecting Washington transportation package was signed by Governor Jay Inslee, bringing $879 million in state funding for the completion of the North Spokane Corridor project.[13][14] Construction on the southern half began in early 2017 with work on the Freya Street overpass and is the whole project is anticipated to be completed by 2027 or 2029, depending on funding.[8][15][16][17] Grading and paving of a section between Freya Street and Central Avenue was completed in September 2019, but remains closed to traffic.[18]

In October 2019, the second realignment of the BNSF Railway tracks began to make way of further construction of the NSC; one month later, Wellesley Avenue was closed off to traffic. Construction of the new segment began in May 2021 and the railroad realignment was completed in August.[19][20] The section between Freya Street and Wellesley Avenue was opened to northbound traffic on November 16, 2023, extending the freeway by 1.5 miles (2.4 km) and into the city limits of Spokane. The section's southbound lanes opened the following day.[21]

In 2023, WSDOT requested public feedback on two potential designs for the I-90 interchange (the final segment of the North Spokane Corridor) at the future southern terminus of the NSC. On July 13, 2023, WSDOT announced that it had chosen alternative 1. The community chose this option due to it having a smaller infrastructure footprint with greater potential for placing pedestrian bridges for future development.[22] Construction on this segment is expected to start in March 2026 and be completed by late 2030.[23]


The highway is expected to significantly improve traffic through north Spokane. In particular, the highway will allow trucks to avoid congested Division Street, formerly the only north–south truck route through the city. By moving cars from congested streets to a freeway, WSDOT predicts that it will reduce auto emissions by 3.6% annually and save a million gallons of fuel a year. It will also reduce predicted traffic growth on Interstate 90, as new residents move to the North Spokane area instead of elsewhere along the Interstate.[24]

There are 62 known or suspected hazardous waste sites in the freeway's path.[24]

A 1997 report by WSDOT noted that the construction of the southern portion of the freeway will require the demolition of over 500 homes and 100 business, necessitating the relocation of over 1,000 residents.[24] Many of these homes and business are in the poorest and most ethnically diverse neighborhoods of the city.[24] WSDOT purchased many properties in Hillyard and other neighborhoods in 2002. Businesses have been allowed to remaining operating until construction actually begins. Ziggy's store closed on November 20, 2010, after 45 years in business because of the construction of the freeway.[25] Homes and churches[24] have also been relocated.[26]

Based on history with the construction of Interstate 90, it is forecast that the North Spokane Corridor will result in substantial land-use changes in the area.[27] The completion of I-90 resulted in growth in eastern suburbs that were once small towns, while many neighborhoods in the center of the city experienced poverty and decline. It is predicted that growth and development will occur near the interchanges of the new freeway while areas near connecting sections will remain poor neighborhoods. Whether modern growth management laws will prevent sprawl in northern suburbs is far from certain.[27] The environmental impact statement predicted more development in Pend Oreille County and Deer Park north of the city.[24]

Spokane Transit Authority (STA) is planning a bus rapid transit (BRT) line for the Division corridor, similar to the City Line but with dedicated BAT lanes.[28] The opening of the BRT is contingent on the North Spokane Corridor opening to remove traffic volume off Division street. With the delays in funding for the North Spokane Corridor, the STA Division street BRT is also delayed.[29]

Exit list

The entire route is in Spokane County.

I-90 / US 395 south
Planned southern terminus
SR 290 (Trent Avenue)
160.53258.35Wellesley AvenueSouthern terminus of built section
162.03260.76Francis Avenue (via Freya Street)
Mead164.03263.98Parksmith DriveConnects to Division via East Hawthorne Road
US 2 west / Farwell Road
US 2 east – Newport
Northbound exit at US 2 and southbound exit at Shady Slope Rd.
Spokane County167.45269.48
US 395 north (North Division Street)
Northern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Finch, Mark, ed. (January 15, 2015). State Highway Log: Planning Report 2014, SR 2 to SR 971 (PDF) (Report). Washington State Department of Transportation. pp. 1437–1440. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  2. ^ "NSC Project Summary". Washington State Department of Transportation. May 15, 2023. Retrieved May 16, 2023.
  3. ^ Staff. "Multi Modal Facility". US 395—North Spokane Corridor. Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  4. ^ Staff. "NSC Quick Facts". US 395—North Spokane Corridor. Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  5. ^ What are the benefits?,
  6. ^ Prager, Mike (August 20, 2001). "Freeway: Project critics still abound". Spokesman-Review. p. A6. Retrieved June 22, 2018 – via Google News Archive.
  7. ^ Roesler, Richard (November 25, 2008). "Plan slashes north–south freeway cost". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Staff. "US 395—North Spokane Corridor". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  9. ^ "Parksmith interchange completion marks halfway point in North Spokane Corridor project". Washington State Department of Transportation. September 19, 2012.
  10. ^ Staff (January 2006). "Chapter 2: What is the purpose of the Urban Connector and why do we need it?" (PDF). Environmental Assessment and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation: Bigelow Gulch/Forker Road Urban Connector. Spokane County, Washington. pp. 2–1–2–6.
  11. ^ Deshais, Nicholas (July 3, 2018). "Groups label freeway a 'boondoggle'". Spokesman-Review. p. 1C. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  12. ^ "No more bumps in the road: Francis Ave. Bridge opens to traffic soon". Washington State Department of Transportation. November 5, 2013.
  13. ^ "Gov. Inslee gets Washington moving again with major transportation investments" (Press release). Office of the Governor of Washington. July 15, 2015. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  14. ^ Lindblom, Mike (June 29, 2015). "Lawmakers release $16 billion transportation plan with 11.9-cent gas tax". The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  15. ^ Prager, Mike (January 20, 2016). "North Spokane Corridor plans getting a fresh look". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  16. ^ Simms, Ryan (February 19, 2016). "North-south freeway project gets funding boost". KREM. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Prager, Mike (March 30, 2017). "Motorists can consult road construction map to navigate work zones in Inland Northwest". Spokesman-Review. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Deshais, Nicholas (September 27, 2019). "With another section of the North Spokane Corridor complete, freeway is on track to be finished in 10 years". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  19. ^ "US 395 - NSC 2nd BNSF Railroad Realignment". Archived from the original on November 29, 2022.
  20. ^ "US 395 - NSC Spokane River to Columbia - New Segment". Washington State Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on October 23, 2022.
  21. ^ Dinman, Emry (November 16, 2023). "Cars hit the road on the first drivable section of the North Spokane Corridor within city limits". The Spokesman-Review. Retrieved November 17, 2023.
  22. ^ Teneyck, Alexa (July 13, 2023). "WSDOT selects option for construction on I-90 and US-395 North Spokane Corridor connection". NonStop Local KHQ. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
  23. ^ "US 395 – NSC I-90 Connection". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved September 14, 2023.
  24. ^ a b c d e f Hansen, Dan (June 1, 1997). "North-south freeway to exact quite a toll". The Spokesman Review. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  25. ^ Dall, Tania (October 29, 2010). "Hillyard businesses clear out for North South Freeway". KXLY-TV. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  26. ^ Wintermeyer, Jay. "New Name, Same Family". Upper Columbia Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  27. ^ a b Grimes, William. "Learning from I-90: The North–South Freeway's Implication for Urban Form" (PDF). Studio Cascade Community Planning and Design. Retrieved November 10, 2011.
  28. ^ "Division Street BRT". Spokane Transit Authority. Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  29. ^ "Bus rapid transit, possible acceleration of North Spokane Corridor funded in legislative transportation package | The Spokesman-Review". Retrieved 2023-05-16.

External links