Crash on High Drive sparks safety concerns


SPOKANE, Wash. -In the wake of a fatal crash along High Drive Monday morning, KHQ is investigating if High Drive, which reopened last week after months of construction, needs to be made safer.

KHQ spoke with City of Spokane spokeswoman Marlene Feist asking her if the City has plans to put in more guardrails or other traffic control devices along the scenic route. Her response was that engineers consider High Drive is safe enough.

 A guard rail was already installed at 33rd and High Drive. But the driver of that SUV hit the curb right here about 30 yards away from the guardrail. The question one might be asking is why isn't this guard rail extended? Well, engineers determined that the road was safe enough without one.

Safe enough - even though at least six vehicles have gone over the side of High Drive in the last 10 years. And all of those accidents have occurred within a 10-block radius of each other.

Now the city of Spokane says their engineers have already taken a close look at High Drive when it comes down to strategically installing guard rails. They have installed them at 29th and High Drive and along the way south. They also strategically installed one at 33rd and High Drive especially at the east/west streets where they meet. They were added because of conflicts with the cross streets. But as for the rest of the road, safety competes with scenery.

"One of the things we always consider when we reconstruct roads is what kind of safety features we need on that road. Certainly our engineers took a look at that location next to the bluff and tried to work out a system that would make the most sense and still enable us to keep the beautiful views of the area," said City of Spokane spokeswoman Marlene Feist

What the engineers rely on instead of guardrails is what they call "recovery room." High Drive is designed with all this extra space -- bike lanes and walking paths -- between the road and the edge of the bluff, all of which should give a driver enough space to regain control of their vehicle.

But as for what exactly happened Monday morning. That is still under investigation. We will update you once we learn more.

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