More than half the money spent to improve county roads during the next six years will be spent in the Spokane Valley.
According to the six-year transportation improvement program county commissioners adopted this week, engineers have budgeted about $131 million to repair existing roads and build new ones throughout the county. About $72 million is pegged for Valley projects.
Included in the six-year plan is millions of dollars for much anticipated Valley projects such as the Evergreen Road interchange project, the widening of Dishman-Mica Road, and the couplet alternative to the South Valley Arterial.
Other projects include building bicycle trails and repairing bridges.
Next year alone, engineers have budgeted for work on 20 Valley projects - 13 of which are listed as major - that total more than $14 million.
County-wide, engineers list 54 projects, totaling in excess of $27 million, scheduled for next year.
About $5.8 million will come from county coffers. State, federal and private money will pay for the rest of the work.
The major urban projects included in next year’s budget are widening Dishman-Mica, design work on the Valley couplet, and resurfacing and widening Sprague Avenue from Sullivan Road to Tschirley Road.
Major rural projects scheduled for work next year include completing construction work on Bigelow Gulch Road from Weile Road to Argonne Road and continuing work on the Harvard Road bridge over the Spokane River.
The Evergreen Road interchange project is the most expensive project planned for next year. Engineers have budgeted about $3.4 million for design work, right-of-way purchase and construction.
Workers will begin to extend Evergreen, which currently ends at Mission, north to Interstate 90 and connect other surrounding roads to the interchange.
The new diamond interchange is being funded by a number of sources, meaning next year only $170,000 will be county money. The rest will come from the state and Spokane Valley Mall developers.
County work on the interchange project is scheduled to be completed in 2000.
Construction scheduled on Dishman-Mica Road next year is projected to cost about $3.2 million. County money will fund $817,000 of the work. Federal and state monies will cover the remaining balance.
Workers will widen the road to four lanes and realign some trouble spots in the hopes of reducing the number of accidents that have plagued the road during the past three years, said Chad Hutson, county spokesman.
The project also includes construction of wider shoulders, a bicycle lane and sidewalks.
Engineers also have set aside $345,000 next year to fund design work on the proposed Valley couplet.
Preliminary plans call for two parallel sets of four lanes to carry east-west traffic between Thierman and University, engineers said.
Westbound traffic would remain on Sprague between Thierman and University. Eastbound traffic would follow a widened First Avenue between Thierman and Park, before sweeping gradually south and continuing east along Second, which also would have to be widened.
That stretch is considered the first phase of a project commissioners and engineers hope will eventually extend all the way to Liberty Lake.
County money earmarked for next year’s work on the couplet totals $117,000. State money will fund the rest.
Overall, the first phase of the project could cost about $16 million, $7 million of which are construction costs, engineers said. The remaining money will be spent on purchasing land for the couplet.
Money to begin construction is budgeted in 2000.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Valley projects Included in the six-year plan is millions of dollars for much anticipated Valley projects such as: The Evergreen Road interchange project. The widening of Dishman-Mica Road. The couplet alternative to the South Valley Arterial.