The Spokesman-Review

Stimulus money to fix Five Mile Road

A tattered warning flag is tied to a road sign along the Five Mile hill on Friday. The city and county are combining to improve the arterial which many consider to be one of the most dangerous roads in the area.   (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)
A tattered warning flag is tied to a road sign along the Five Mile hill on Friday. The city and county are combining to improve the arterial which many consider to be one of the most dangerous roads in the area. (Christopher Anderson / The Spokesman-Review)

One of the biggest traffic complaints on Spokane’s North Side is finally being resolved.

City and county officials recently announced they will move ahead with reconstruction and widening of Five Mile Road going up both the south and north sides of Five Mile Prairie.

For more than decade, residents of this fast-developing residential area have complained about the narrow, two-lane, rural-style road that has served the upscale homes there.

“This project is especially critical to keep this neighborhood – the Five Mile Prairie neighborhood – safe,” City Councilwoman Nancy McLaughlin said while announcing the project.

Spokane city engineers have spent years acquiring rights-of-way and assembling funding for the project on the southern end of the roadway.

Now, the city and county both have qualified to receive money from the federal economic stimulus package approved by Congress earlier this year. The work must be under way by July as a requirement of the stimulus act.

On the south end of the road, the city plans to make improvements from Austin to Lincoln roads with $6.9 million worth of work.

The highlights include:

Widening the street to 44 feet and adding curbs and sidewalks on the south and west side of the road.

Adding a 5-foot-wide bike lane going up the hill and a shared-use bike lane going down.

Landscaping the project from Stratton Avenue to Lincoln Road and installing utility lines.

The traffic layout would allow two lanes going up the hill and one lane down between Austin and Alberta Street, and one lane in each direction from Alberta to Lincoln with a center turn lane.

Detours have not yet been established, but Cedar and Austin roads offer alternate routes, officials said.

Construction is expected to begin later this spring, with completion by fall.

The funding package for the city project includes $2.7 million in regular federal funds, $1.9 million in state transportation improvement funds, $552,000 from developer mitigation fees, $463,000 from the city’s street arterial fund and $1.25 million in federal stimulus funds.

About the same time, the county plans to rebuild Five Mile Road between Strong and Waikiki roads with $1.19 million in federal stimulus funds.

The county money also pays for reconstruction of a segment of Strong Road from Five Mile road west to the bluff above the Indian Trail neighborhood.

County engineer Bob Bruggeman said the work will involve grinding the existing pavement and using it to create new road base and then repaving the top with three inches of asphalt to withstand heavier loads and end the late winter weight restrictions that have been imposed there.

Five Mile Road will be widened slightly to have two 12-foot lanes and two 2-foot shoulders, he said.

Riverside extension hearings

The first of two community workshops on the extension of Riverside Avenue across the south side of the University District east of Division Street is set for today from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Riverpoint Campus Academic Center, Room 20, 600 N. Riverpoint Blvd.

A second meeting is planned for May 6 at the same location from 4 to 6 p.m.

The extension project is intended to provide a new route for east-west traffic connecting Trent Avenue with downtown. The route would run along the south side of the campus and Spokane River and beneath the Hamilton Street bridge.

MIG Inc., a Berkeley, Calif.-based consultant that worked with the city on an updated downtown plan last year, is leading the workshop in which participants will hear about details and offer feedback, city officials said.

Cyclists unite

Spokane bicycle advocates will meet at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday on the second floor of the REI store at Monroe Street and Boone Avenue to decide if there is adequate support to form a regional bicycling coalition.

The coalition would promote cycling in the Inland Northwest.

Road work

•Next Monday, work will begin on replacing pavement along Broadway Avenue at its intersection with Fancher Road. The work will take about five weeks, but will be done in two phases.

Initially, the west side of the intersection will be closed and east-west traffic will be rerouted along Howe Street and Boone Avenue. When that is finished, the east side of the intersection will be rebuilt with a detour on Lake Road and Desmet Avenue.

Fancher will be reduced to one lane in each direction.

The $562,000 project has a federal surface transportation grant and small match from Spokane Valley city funds.

•Drivers near Wal-Mart at Shadle Center may find that traffic is slowed down starting today due to lane restrictions and closures for installation of a new phased traffic light at Wellesley Avenue and Belt Street.

Belt will be closed at the intersection while Wellesley will be reduced to one lane in each direction from Hemlock to Elgin streets.

The $410,000 project is being financed through city and federal funds.

•Today at 6:45 p.m., traffic on U.S. Highway 2 was scheduled to be stopped in the vicinity of Hayford Road as a safety precaution for up to 15 minutes during blasting for an adjacent commercial development.

Mike Prager can be reached at (509) 459-5454 or by e-mail at mikep@spokesman.com.

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A car heads along Five Mile Road on Friday. The city and county are preparing to improve the narrow arterial.

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CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON The Spokesman-Review

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