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Getting There: Final park road fix far off

Water is redirected over the road leading to Mount Spokane last Monday   after melting snow overwhelmed  a culvert. 
 (Rajah Bose / The Spokesman-Review)
Water is redirected over the road leading to Mount Spokane last Monday after melting snow overwhelmed a culvert. (Rajah Bose / The Spokesman-Review)

This week we dedicate Getting There to someplace you can’t: Mount Spokane State Park.

A contractor worked feverishly last week to install a culvert to redirect floodwaters that washed out a good portion of State Route 206 near the park’s entrance. The Washington state Department of Transportation announced Friday that crews have restored emergency travel on a new gravel road.

However, a final fix for the roadway, also known as Mt. Spokane Park Drive, is still far off, department spokesman Al Gilson said.

“We are talking months,” said Gilson, who noted that the contractor has to replace about 1,000 feet of washed-out road.

Gov. Chris Gregoire was in town last week and used the blowout to make an emergency declaration.

“It enables us to apply for federal funding to pay for the fix,” Gilson said. “We are thinking it will be somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million when all is said and done.”

The blowout was caused by several days of above-normal temperatures. The resulting runoff was too much for a culvert, which caused the water to change course and take the roadway with it.

Construction crews have already placed a much larger culvert in the problem area to divert Deadman Creek back into its original streambed. Now contractors must replace all the dirt and rocks blown out by the damage, Gilson said.

End in sight

Construction crews are ahead of schedule on some projects that have snarled traffic on the Lilac City’s North Side.

Ash Street is now open from Boone south across the Maple Street Bridge. And, the intersection of Boone and Ash is again open for east-west commuters.

The same crews are on pace to complete the repaving work on Ash in about three weeks, city streets spokeswoman Ann Deasy said.

Once Ash is complete, commuters again will be allowed to flow south on that arterial. However, crews will then completely shut down Maple Street, essentially from Second Avenue (and across the Maple Street Bridge) to Northwest Boulevard. In addition, the intersection of Boone and Maple will again be closed, Deasy said.

The city will soon announce other street projects that are set to begin on the North Side. But they’re being delayed until some others get closer to completion.

“We don’t want to kill everybody on the North Side,” Deasy said. “They are upset enough already.”

Division woes continue

Crews installing a new water transmission main will need another week to complete their work.

So, this week, they’ll continue closing the lanes near the center of the intersection of Wellesley and Division, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. each day.

“They are hoping to have that work done by May 30,” she said.

That is in addition to lane closures on Division from a state project to install a fiber optic cable from North Foothills Drive to near Francis.

In that project, crews are closing one northbound lane from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily and two northbound lanes between 8 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Flooding closures

Deasy said she expects Upriver Drive will remain closed from Mission Avenue to Greene Street this week from flooding of the Spokane River.

The city also closed a portion of South Riverton Avenue on the south side of the river.

Valley traffic obstructions

Construction continues on Appleway Avenue at Barker Road, with traffic restricted to one lane in each direction through September.

Crews will restrict Eighth Avenue just east of Evergreen to one lane in each direction on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for water main work, spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch said in a news release.

Barker Road south of Appleway remains closed through Thursday. And Barker north of Appleway will temporarily open today through Thursday. It will then close and not open again until June 20, Branch said.

Indiana Avenue between Greenacres and Tschirley roads will be closed from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday for construction work. Commuters will be rerouted to Mission and Montgomery avenues.

Cheney-Plaza closed

Crews this week will close Cheney-Plaza Road south of Cheney to fix the bridge railing on the span that goes over Fish Lake trail near Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge, Spokane County construction engineer Paul Lennemann said. That work should be completed in about a month.

Additionally, closures remain on Valley Chapel Road, Dennison Chattaroy Road and Little Spokane Drive at Golden Road.

Forewarning for cell users

Five weeks and counting until officers in Washington start ticketing those using cell phones while driving.

On July 1, holding a cell phone up to your ear will become a secondary driving offense. That means drivers can’t be pulled over specifically for that offense, but can receive a $124 ticket in addition to whatever other violations were committed, Trooper Mark Baker said.

Baker said it’s amazing how many moving violations, like speeding or improper lane changes, are related to cell phone use.

“We see it all the time,” Baker said.