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Spokane celebrates completion of bridge construction giving one lane to bikers

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(The Center Square) – The City of Spokane fully reopened the Post Street Bridge on Wednesday for the first time since 2019 following an extensive reconstruction project that cost taxpayers $21 million and reduced the structure to one lane.

While initially built in 1917, the 333-foot-long Post Street Bridge closed to vehicular traffic in 2019 after a structural analysis determined it could no longer safely support the weight. Only bicyclists and pedestrians were allowed to cross until it closed altogether for construction in May 2020.

Now, a new Post Street Bridge spans between Riverfront Park and the north bank, giving views of the Spokane River waterfalls on each side. Mayor Lisa Brown joined Wednesday’s unveiling celebration, underscoring the importance of multimodal transportation in the region.

“As we hear about the generations past, we have to think about the generations ahead of us,” Brown said, “and we’re at a really important time for our city to do that, to make this be part of a reawakening of our unity.”

She invited those attending to examine what surrounds them as they envision a future for Spokane together. Brown said the Post Street Bridge is only one example of what’s possible, as multiple other projects also recently wrapped up, creating more links around Riverfront Park.

The new Post Street Bridge embraces a more multimodal approach, only supporting one lane of vehicular traffic. A protected bike lane then runs along the west side of the bridge, with a pedestrian path on the east. Both are separated from traffic with large planters and benches.

Additionally, a sewer pipe that previously hung outside the bridge was replaced with one running underneath, protecting views of the waterfalls and park. Brown said she plans to frequent the route as she commutes back and forth across the river for city business.

“It is fitting that we’re celebrating this now as we also celebrate our Expo 50 celebration,” Brown said. “All of these projects showcase the Spokane River Gorge, which, of course, was the centerpiece of the World Fair in 1974.”

Spokane also celebrated a few other updates around Riverfront Park on Wednesday, most notably a new suspended platform under the Monroe Street Bridge, according to a news release.

The $2.5 million project connects Spokane’s Great Gorge Loop Trail without forcing residents and visitors to cross a major intersection. Additionally, to the east of the Post Street Bridge are two newly renovated suspension bridges initially built for the 1974 World Fair.

Updates to the North Suspension Bridge wrapped up in 2022, but the South Suspension Bridge finished last fall just in time for the Expo 50 celebration.

Each of the two projects cost approximately $2.8 million and included new bridge decks and repairs to corroded steel beams, railings and various lighting and electrical components.

“These projects are the definition of what we understand as quality of life in our beautiful city. Let’s not underestimate what it took to get here, however,” said Public Works Director Marlene Feist. “Years of planning, significant coordination of funding sources from local and state and federal agencies and the incredible work of the contractors who took on these challenges.”

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