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Project Will Reduce Curves On Upriver Drive

Sat., April 6, 1996

Construction on Upriver Drive next year will ease the tight curves just west of Plantes Ferry Park.

The project will cost nearly $1 million. And in addition to making that dangerous stretch of road safer, the construction will add a bike lane and pedestrian trail.

“It will basically add a spur of the Centennial Trail” from the parking lot and foot bridge on the north side of the Spokane River, east to Plantes Ferry Park, said Wyn Birkenthal, county parks director.

Eighty percent of the money is federal. County commissioners have approved the rest of the money.

A series of permits still must be obtained, in part because the work will be so close to the Spokane River.

Construction will take two to three months, estimated Gary Nelson, a county engineer. The road work will involve moving 50,000 cubic yards of rock - that’s about 5,000 dump truck loads - and will reach to the entrance of the Plantes Ferry memorial.

The trail will continue on to the main park entrance. That will dovetail nicely with a proposal to build a soccer complex just east of the park.

A separate road project will include turn lanes for the soccer complex and extend the bike lane as far east as Evergreen. The county so far has $70,000 in federal money for designing that project.

Patrols on Bigelow Gulch

Law enforcement agencies announced this week they will extend for three months a program that stepped up traffic patrols along Bigelow Gulch Road.

Employees from the county’s Public Works Department also will install a machine to determine peak travel periods and check the average speed of drivers, said county spokesman Chad Hutson.

The Washington State Patrol and Spokane County Sheriff’s Department in January increased patrols along the road, which joins the North Side and the Valley.

Since January, the two agencies have stopped more than 100 drivers in an attempt to slow drivers down. Several drivers have been up to 20 miles per hour over the 45 mile-per-hour posted speed limit.

Speeding tickets have been given to 66 motorists. One driver was cited for traveling 81 miles per hour.

Speeding drivers, limited sight distance and severe curves have contributed to nearly 200 accidents along Bigelow Gulch since 1991, Hutson said.

Currently the county Public Works Department is seeking funding to realign the roadway.

More than 13,000 cars travel the two-lane road daily.

A call for bids

Valley Fire district commissioners voted on Wednesday to begin accepting bids to build a new fire station.

The new station is tentatively planned for a plot of land on Harvard Road just north of Interstate 90’s Harvard Road interchange. It will replace Station No. 3, at Appleway Avenue and Michigan Road, which will be closed.

Commissioners expect the station will cost $670,000 and is expected to be completed by August.

Bid applications will be available from the architectural firm Tan/ Heyamoto beginning May 15, said Valley Fire Chief Pat Humphries. Bids will be accepted through early June.

To rebuild Centennial Trail

The Spokane County Parks Department is applying for Federal Emergency Management Act money to rebuild the washed-out portion of the Centennial Trail west of Barker Road.

Parks director Wyn Birkenthal said the federal money, if received, would handle 75 percent of the expense. Private gifts from sources including the Friends of the Centennial Trail and Cowles Publishing Corp. could make up the remainder.

As a last resort, county commissioners could use money from the county’s real estate excise tax, Birkenthal said.

More parks news

Another public meeting to discuss the soccer complex planned east of Plantes Ferry Park is to be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Trent Elementary School auditorium.

After last month’s meeting on the plan, the parks advisory board asked supporters to fine-tune their proposal to take into account suggestions from the community. Those included things like moving the restrooms to a more central location.

More than 100 soccer fans turned out at last month’s meeting and testified to the overwhelming need for more playing fields.

, DataTimes

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