December 5, 2009 in Washington Voices

City considers street standards

New regulations would make work cost more, pavement last longer
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Higher standards for street construction and a $200,000 increase in street maintenance are scheduled for action Tuesday by the Spokane Valley City Council.

A far-reaching overhaul of street standards calls for roads with more gravel and asphalt to make them last longer.

New regulations also take aim at the narrow, low-quality, dead-end private roads allowed under the Spokane County standards the city adopted when it was incorporated in 2003.

Although the tougher construction standards are intended to reduce maintenance costs in the long run, they pose a short-term dilemma for the council.

Requiring residential streets to have three inches of asphalt over six inches of gravel – instead of two inches over four – would add an estimated $900,000 to the cost of installing sewer lines next year. That’s just sewer users’ cost to patch over construction trenches.

It doesn’t include the city’s expense in repaving the rest of streets torn up by sewer installation. The additional cost for curb-to-curb repavement, paid by the city, hasn’t been calculated.

Also Tuesday, the council is to act on Public Works Director Neil Kersten’s recommendation to authorize more street repairs next year and grant a 3.3 percent wage increase for street and stormwater maintenance.

The wage increase was requested by Poe Asphalt Paving, which seeks


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