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Oil contamination complicates Spokane highway construction

Spokane River and Gonzaga (Wikimedia)

Spokane River and Gonzaga (Wikimedia)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ Efforts to complete the North Spokane Freeway are running into some problems because of oil contamination in the old Hillyard rail yard.

The state Department of Transportation is holding a public meeting Thursday to talk about options for building the long-awaited freeway through the former BNSF Railway yard.

The Spokesman-Review says oil that leaked from a locomotive refueling facility decades ago has seeped into the ground and now floats atop the Spokane aquifer.

Al Gilson, spokesman for DOT in Spokane, says freeway designers have not settled on a route design and that the meeting will help them get public input on alternatives.

State transportation officials say one solution for the freeway is to relocate it to the west.