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Valley arterials will need repairs

Wed., July 11, 2007

Don’t blame Spokane Valley if portions of Appleway, Dishman-Mica and University drive a little rough in the years to come.

Thanks to sewer installations, most Spokane Valley roads are in good shape. But an inventory of the city’s streets delivered to the City Council this week indicates the gravel beneath sections of the three arterials was incorrectly installed during construction projects supervised by Spokane County.

“Testing found that the base and subgrade was inadequately compacted during construction,” a draft of the city’s street master plan reads.

Appleway was built in 2000, but two inches of the deteriorating surface of the section between Dishman-Mica and University may already need to be replaced.

The report indicates the same treatment may be necessary between 16th Avenue and 32nd Avenue on Dishman-Mica, which was widened a few years earlier.

“A more rigorous inspection of the work or better testing methodologies may have identified these problems during construction when corrective action is easier and far less expensive,” according to study.

University between Fourth and 16th avenues may have to be replaced completely.

Councilman Gary Schimmels, who spent decades in construction, estimated most roads are built to last 12 to 15 years, depending on traffic.

“There’s probably lots of schools of thought on the life of the pavement, but what kills us … if we don’t have a good base, is the freeze-thaw cycle,” he said.

The city hired J-U-B Engineers, Inc. to create the $435,000 street master plan last year. Every city thoroughfare was inspected and an extensive database compiled so engineers can get a better idea of how best to preserve them.

“The good news is lots of our roads are in excellent condition,” said Mayor Diana Wilhite.

When the system is finalized, it will require the city to regularly inspect the streets to keep the data current, but council members hope to save money in the long run.

Repairing worn pavement early on costs a fraction of what it takes to replace the whole road a handful of years later, according to the report.


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