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TRAFFIC ALERT: Vantage Bridge on I-90 closed

TRAFFIC ALERT: Vantage Bridge on I-90 closed

A multi-vehicle accident involving an estimated 15 semitrucks and 6 cars has prompted Washington State Department of Transportation to close part of Interstate 90 in central Washington.

I-90 westbound is closed at milepost 136 near the Vantage Bridge over the Columbia river, and eastbound at milepost 115 near Kittitas.

Drivers are being detoured onto local roads. There is no estimate for a reopening time. 

The collision occured just after 11 am eastbound near milepost 127.

New report lists Spokane number one in state for car thefts

New report lists Spokane number one in state for car thefts

A new report from the Northwest Insurance Council puts Spokane at number one in the state for car theft, and number seven nationwide.

In 2013, 31,960 vehicles were reported stolen in Washington. That's an average of 88 stolen vehicles per day and nearly four vehicles each hour. In Spokane, 3,205 vehicles were stolen – an average of 600 per every 100,000 residents.

The Northwest Insurance Council recommends drivers follow four layers of protection to guard against vehicle theft.

 

1. Common Sense

  • Remove your keys from the ignition.
  • Lock your doors/close your windows.
  • Park in a well-lit area.
  • Keep valuable items such as bags, purses, cell phones and briefcases out of sight.

 

2. Warning Device

Escalating crisis in Iraq driving gas prices higher

Escalating crisis in Iraq driving gas prices higher

The tensions in Iraq could soon be hitting your wallet at the gas pump as experts predict gas prices could hit $4 a gallon and possibly more if the situation doesn't deescalate.

A stay-cation might be a wise option this summer as gas prices are starting to rise.

"This time of year you starting to get into driving season, vacation season and those kinds of things and I think notoriously prices start rising up," Jim Redmon, president of Divine Corporation said.

Washington state has the 4th highest average for a gallon of regular unleaded at $3.94 a gallon. In Spokane the average is 20 cents lower at $3.74.

"It's unfortunate that it gets to be that high but you gotta do what you gotta do, you got to get from A to B, I'm going to pay to what ever it goes to because I gotta get around," Kenneth Lower said.

"It's pretty sad, pretty ridiculous, it's already hard enough to pay this much money, especially if you have to drive a lot," Teresa Hankins said.

The fact is, rising violence in Iraq could lead to rising prices at the gas pump.

City council working to find balance between Uber, Lyft and taxi companies

City council working to find balance between Uber, Lyft and taxi companies

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft have been operating in Spokane for a short time, but local taxi owners are calling them illegal.

Before the most common way to get a ride was by hailing down a cab. Now you can find a ride-sharing car on your smartphone and get someone to pick you up, leaving some taxi drivers saying its not fair since Uber and Lyft don't follow the same rules as taxi companies do.

Zachary Kelty drives for Lyft and Uber using his Honda Civic. Both companies use apps to connect drivers with people who need a ride, but some taxi drivers want to put the brakes on them.

"You can't just walk into an industry and do anything you want with it," Bill Boomer, owner of Bill's Friendly Cabs said.

Boomer has owned his cab company for the last seven years and he's not happy with ride-sharing companies coming onto his turf. Since Uber and Lyft arrived in Spokane, Boomer said business at some smaller cab companies is down 50-percent, and his company has taken a hit as well.

"I'm going to say I'm down 15-percent," he said.

Competition isn't the thing that bothers him.

Spokane road construction season in full swing

Spokane road construction season in full swing

It's road construction season in Spokane, with approximately 30 projects scheduled this year across the city.

From complete rehabilitation to putting in pedestrian walk signs roads are closing left and right as the city spends roughly $36 Million on road improvements before Spokane braces for another winter.

Construction season is typically when the weather is good and you need the street to be a certain temperature for that asphalt to set and to work," Julie Happy with the City of Spokane said.

The city has put together a construction map which shows all of the projects they are working on this season. Click here to see the map.

are your really big projects," Happy explained.

Happy suggests using the map to find an alternate route but Spokane resident Greg Peters, who lives near one of the construction zones, has an alternate solution.

School's out so slow down in park zones

School's out so slow down in park zones

Now that school is out so are some new speed limit signs as drivers are required to slow down to 20 miles per hour in park zones.

Gretchen Aleeto said the reduced speeds put her mind at ease when she sends her kids to the park.

"I think it's a great idea there is a lot of kids just wandering and going to the park so I think it's very important that they have people slow down," said Aleeto.

With school out for summer, Aleeto said her kids will be riding to the park pretty often and now she feels more comfortable letting them go on their own.

"Just knowing that cars are supposed to be going slower and hopefully people obey the speed limit by the park," said Aleeto.

Spokane Police say most people do obey the posted speed limit.

"Most people adhere to it, there are just a few that we catch sometimes and we have to remind them monetarily that they need to slow down in the park zones to keep the kids safe," said Officer Teresa Fuller from the Spokane Police Department.

There is some good data to back up why the speed is reduced.

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington conducting impaired driving survey this weekend

Washington state and the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission are teaming up to conduct surveys on impaired drivers through the weekend.

The survey is completely anonymous and voluntary and the goal is to gain perspective on what is in Washington driver's systems and find out what the state needs to educate the public on.

"When you're driving down the road do you ever wonder how many impaired drivers are around you? Well we do to," Karen Wigen, Spokane County Target Zero Task Force, said.

The anonymous, voluntary survey be conducted on the roadside across the state.

"This is the first time that we've ever done a driver impairment data collection study in Washington state," Wigen said.

The NHTSC paid the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation $250,000 to conduct the survey in six counties. Because of the legalization of marijuana the surveys will give a snapshot of motorists' drug and alcohol use before pot stores open in the coming months.

"PIRE is going to run the study on I think it will be 75 drugs, illegal, legal and over the counter," Wigen said.