Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Airway Heights nabs $2.5 million transportation grant

Transportation Improvement Board funds will go to West Plains Connection project


Last updated 12/3/2020 at 12:38pm

AIRWAY HEIGHTS — The city’s plans to expand transportation options just received a boost. The West Plains Connection project has been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the Transportation Improvement Board.

The money will be used for Phase One of the project, which will link Garfield Road and South Hayford Road via 10th Avenue, a street grid section that doesn’t presently connect.

The continuation of 10th Avenue would connect with the current 12th Avenue behind Walmart off South Hayford Road.

The new route will have two travel lanes, landscaped or hardscaped center media with turn-lanes at major and future intersections and a multi-use pathway with a sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, according to a press release from West Plains Connection.

Construction is expected to begin in 2022.

“As a whole, the West Plains is expanding swiftly,” public works director Kevin Anderson said. “We are working to design ‘smarter’ solutions to rapidly meet rising demands on our transportation system. Projects such as the West Plains Connection do just that – they leverage current resources in the street grid and improve them. Grant funds from the Transportation Improvement Board are the catalyst to making this happen and we are grateful for their partnership and support.”

The economic development group and lead agency for preliminary design of the project is S3R3 Solutions, whose Board Chair is Spokane County Commissioner Al French.

“Connecting the grid will deliver improvements for emergency response times, multimodal transportation options, access to workforce housing, reduced congestion, and increased safety,” French said. “Over the life of the project, these advances have the potential to spur as much as $1.4 billion in development along the corridor.”

S3R3 predicts the corridor development could bring more than 3,300 jobs with annual wages of $132 million, according to the press release.

The West Plains Connection project, designed to create more transportation efficiency between Spokane and Airway Heights, is supported by many key stakeholders, according to the press release, including the Kalispel and Spokane tribes, Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Spokane Transit Authority, Fairchild Air Force Base and the Department of Transportation.

“By working together, we’re ensuring that growth does not just happen to us,” mayor Kevin Richey said. “Instead, we are using the momentum to thoughtfully and intentionally create a better community both now and in the future.”

The first steps of preparing for construction include full design plan development, confirmation of right-of-way and initial geotechnical assessments for completing the 10th Avenue stretch, according to the press release.

Drew Lawson can be reached at


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