Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question you would like added to this list, please send it to Miller, Katherine E. Miller at


1. How can the public be involved in this process?

2. What is the purpose of the project?

3. What is the purpose of this phase of the study?

4. What happened since the Oct. Open House?

5. What happens now?

6. Is the bridge really needed?

7. When will the bridge be built?

8. What is the cost ?

9. How will the project be funded?

1. How can the public be involved in this process?
In addition to this blog and survey, project team members will visit with individuals or groups that would like a presentation. Please contact the consultant team public involvement specialist: Lori Isenberg, President of Northwest Dynamics, Inc.

2. What is the purpose of this project?
a) One of the key objectives of the proposed bridge is to develop a non-motorized connection from the Sprague area and medical district south of the rail corridor to the Riverpoint Campus, Gonzaga and the north neighborhoods. This will provide a safe, convenient, enjoyable way for users to connect to other trails and bikeways for recreation and commuting purposes.

b) Another key objective is to stimulate economic development in the Sprague area. We are working closely with representatives from the East Sprague Redevelopment Study to ensure the studies compliment each other. For more information on the East Sprague Redevelopment Study, go to click on Targeted Area Development.

c) A third objective is to create a skyline signature icon and sense of place. This is a unique location with great opportunity to create something special.

3. What is the purpose of this phase of the study?

This phase will select a recommended Type Size and Location (TS&L) of the bridge. The TS&L report functions as the justification for the selection of the preferred bridge alternative. Approval of the TS&L study is the basis for advancing the project to the design stage. Many funding agencies require a TS&L report as part of the funding process. Basic steps for the development of the TS&L are as follows:
a) Define the project goals and objectives
b) Identify project restrictions and constraints
c) Develop a list of feasible alternatives
d) Compare advantages and disadvantages of alternatives
e) Eliminate the least desirable alternatives based on the project constraints
f) Select a preferred alternative

4. What happened since the Oct. Open House?

The website received over 2,750 visits and over 200 online surveys, along with another 126 written comments from the open house and static display. All of the comments were carefully reviewed and discussed by the project team. In general, about 75% of the respondents preferred Option 2, which DID NOT have the elevator. The choice of bridge styles was not as obvious; however it is apparent a majority of the respondents prefer some sort of arch or cable stay design. We also received many thoughtful comments about the ramps, proposed green space, access, safety and cost. Based on the feedback received and further study, the project team and advisory committee reduced the range of options to one set of landings and two bridge options.

5.  What happens now?

Feedback on the revisions will be gathered over the next two months via the blog and surveys, presentations to interested groups, and the public open house. If you would like a presentation for your group, contact Lori Isenberg at

The feedback will be reviewed and incorporated into the advisory committee’s recommendationto the City within the next couple of will be reviewed and incorporated into the advisory committee’s recommendationto the City within the next couple of months. bridge really needed

6.  Is this bridge really needed?

Yes. Development of the University District and the downtown area has been a city priority for many years (see list of studies below). The Bridge is an important step toward implementation of the City’s University District Strategic Master Plan, Riverpoint Campus Master Plan, Bike Master Plan, the Downtown Plan, and support for redevelopment of the South University District.

We realize the Bridge is just one out of a handful of potential projects being studied in the area, such as the East Sprague Redevelopment Study, the Division Gateway Corridor, MLK JR Way (under construction) and STA’s work on mobility. All of these potential projects are part of the overall vision for the area and all are important.

Once the studies and planning is completed, the next step is to prioritize and seek funding for the various projects as deemed appropriate by the Mayor and city council. While these projects cannot all be funded right away, the planning process must be completed in order to accurately calculate costs and prioritize.

The following studies identified the need for the pedestrian and bicycle bridge.
· 2004: University District Strategic Master Planning process
· 2007 Policy Options for a New Urban Center – Spokane’s University District.
EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance
· 2008: Downtown Planning Update, Fast Forward Spokane.
· 2008: DKS Downtown and University District Transportation Improvement Study
· 2008: SRTC Smart Routes Case Statement
· 2009: The City of Spokane Comprehensive Plan / Bicycle Master Plan
· 2009: Zimmerman Volk University District Housing Study
· 2009 Riverpoint Campus Master Plan Update.

7. When will the bridge be built? That will be decided by the City as the various projects in and around the University District continue through their planning and costs are identified. The project will move forward in phases. Once this Type Size and Location study – including the environmental study portion– is completed, the City will be able to move forward to finalize the design and purchase Right of Way. That could take a few years, depending on priorities and available funding. Once the design and right-of-way phase is complete AND construction funding is obtained, construction can begin.

8. What is the cost ?

Costs are very preliminary in this early stage of study; refined costs will be included in the final report. Current estimates are below for both options.
The Arch Bridge *total project estimated cost is $12,200,000; the **bridge alone is $7,400,000
The Cable-Stayed Bridge total project estimated cost is = $11,300,000; the bridge alone is 6,800,000

* total project costs include contingency, ROW, Sprague connection and landscaping.
** bridge cost includes approaches, bridge and lighting.

9. How will it be funded?

A significant amount of funding was allocated as a potential project in the University District Revitalization Area plan adopted in 2009. This local revitalization tool is a form of tax increment financing where:
• Existing taxes are reallocated; not a new tax.
• Growth pays for growth; a portion of future incremental sales & property tax revenues pays for public improvements linked to economic development.

The remaining funds will come from either Federal or State grants which are applied for on a competitive basis.