Sunday, June 2, 2013

Where Will All The Bikes Go?

The Saturday before Bike to Work Week I had the misfortune of riding from Hangman Valley Golf Course to Downtown via US-195.  It was misfortune for 2 reasons: First because I was meeting riders at 30th and Grand (two long climbs from my house) and I discovered I had left my Di2 battery on the charger and the bike was now a single-speed stuck in a 50 x 11 gear so no big hills for me.  Second the :"flattest" route between my battery and me was the heavy construction of US-195 for the new interchange at  the Cheney-Spokane Road.

For those who live in Hangman Hills, The Ridge at Hangman, White Road, Eagle Ridge and Qualchan, US-195 is preferred route to Downtown, 9-mile, Sunset Hill and the Fish Lake Trail. The route is popular because of wide shoulders and easy access to arterial roads like Hatch,  Inland Empire Way, Thorpe and 16th Ave. With this in mind, I set-off on the knee-killing single speed in hopes of being soon reunited with my battery and blissfully unaware of the following information from the WSDOT warning cyclist of doom and destruction :

US 195/Cheney-Spokane Road Interchange (MP 94)
Traffic Impacts: HIGH IMPACT!! Drivers should be alert for trucks crossing the highway during evening and overnight hours. In general, northbound US 195 is reduced to one through lane in the vicinity of Cheney-Spokane Road. Northbound drivers need to use Qualchan Road to access Cheney-Spokane Road. Northbound drivers should be alert for possible congestion and slowing traffic. The southbound off ramp to Cheney-Spokane Road is now closed so drivers will need to be alert for southbound highway traffic slowing to make right turns into Cheney-Spokane Road. This is a long-term construction configuration. The US 195/Inland Empire Way intersection is now closed. Inland Empire Way traffic is directed to the Thorpe Road intersection. This is a permanent closure to accommodate the new northbound Cheney-Spokane Road northbound on ramp. Special note for bikes: Bicycle riders need to use extreme caution on this section of US 195 as there is limited or no shoulder and be alert for equipment adjacent to the roadway, turning truck traffic, and other construction-related activities and may wish to seek alternate routes to avoid delays. Area residents need to be aware of night work on this project. Residents can call 324-6250 for noise-related information.
Project Description: Construct new full interchange.
Project Website:

Yep, the Special note for bikes highlighted in yellow sounds like a real pleasure zone for cyclists during construction.

I have a bad feeling about this....
I arrived at the construction zone to find the shoulder gone and access to Inland Empire Way all but obliterated which gave me the choice of riding on pavement in 55 mph traffic or going CX on the dirt for a 1/4 mile with 700 x 23 road tires.  I chose the latter and soon found myself tooling along on IEW.  The rest of the ride was uneventful, but I have since been wondering how the WSDOT has planned to get cyclists safely through the new freeway-like interchange so I did some research and will report my findings and concerns in the next installment.

Hmmm, ride in 55 mph traffic or go Cyclocross?

1 comment:

  1. "Planned to get cyclists safely through"? I suspect they hadn't planned anything of the sort, beyond scaring them off.