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City assigns Hatch Road study

The city of Spokane is moving ahead with a study on possible widening of Hatch Road between 57th Avenue and U.S. Highway 195, a project that could reduce the need for a connector arterial across undeveloped land between Hatch Road and Palouse Highway.

The Spokane City Council recently approved the $211,000 engineering contract with W&H Pacific, a national firm based in Anchorage with an office in Spokane Valley.

The contract calls for the firm to do a preliminary study on Hatch Road to determine whether widening is feasible and how much it could cost.

Hatch Road improvements were called for in a 2004 regional study of transportation needs on the South Side. That study also identified a connector arterial to handle increasing traffic volumes between U.S. 195 and Palouse Highway as well as the need for intersection improvements by the state at Hatch and U.S. 195.

The W&H Pacific contract is intended to give city officials more information about what can be done to make the winding, narrow route safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. However, funding for improvements has not yet been obtained.

Engineers said the intersection at 57th and Hatch is considered deficient because the two roads meet at “Y” angle.

“It’s not ideal,” said Katherine Miller, an engineer in the city’s public works division.

In addition, the steep hillside does not offer a lot of room for widening that would be needed to install a bike and pedestrian lane. Topography issues will be part of the study, she said.

Money for the preliminary engineering came from a 2006 federal grant. The money also was targeted for developing a pedestrian and bicycle lane along Hatch Road and the Hatch Road Bridge.

W&H Pacific was selected as the most qualified consultant following a competitive request for proposals issued by the city last year.

The consultant is being asked to identify road improvements across the section of Hatch Road from U.S. 195 and 57th Avenue and provide cost estimates for the project. Those estimates would then be used on grant applications for the engineering work and construction.

Once the study is completed, city officials will start applying for grants to make improvements, a process that could take several years, Miller said.

In other business, the City Council also has accepted an agreement and performance guarantee with WinCo Foods LLC for street improvements associated with development of a new WinCo supermarket in the Northpointe area of the city.

WinCo is guaranteeing $595,000 for construction of an east-west link on Jay Avenue between Nevada and Dakota streets. The public street would provide internal circulation for WinCo as well as the existing Home Depot and Wal-Mart stores in the area, according to city documents.

WinCo has been asked to provide a performance bond to ensure that Jay Avenue would be built to the city’s satisfaction.