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Argonne Road project nears end

Sat., July 11, 2009

Traffic is close to normal again on Argonne Road, with all four lanes open to traffic for the first time in more than a month.

Matt Gillis, project manager for Welch, Comer & Associates Inc., an engineering firm, updated the Millwood City Council on the Argonne Road project Monday night during the council’s regular meeting.

“It’s still a construction zone,” Gillis said. “It’s not perfect yet, we’ve got bumps here and there.”

Red Diamond Construction, contractor for the project, temporarily moved off the construction site to allow a concrete contracting company, Cameron-Reilly, to begin work on sidewalk improvements, concentrated on the west side of Argonne.

“They have an aggressive schedule,” Gillis said of Cameron-Reilly’s project approach. “They are looking to be done the first week of August.”

Cameron-Reilly plans to begin work this week on the south end of Argonne Road and work north.

Funding for the sidewalk improvement project comes from a $108,000 grant obtained last December, and an additional $26,000 this spring from the Transportation Improvement Board. The city agreed to pay an additional $38,000. The total cost of the project is $172,000.

Once the sidewalk project is completed, Gillis said, Red Diamond will come back to complete the paving process.

Gillis estimates the entire paving operation will take a week.

“We’re doing it this way because that’s going to give the city of Millwood the best product,” Gillis said about Red Diamond’s temporary departure. “That is going to let us pave up against new sidewalk.”

Gillis anticipates one lane will close on the west side during sidewalk construction.

As the entire project nears completion, the city hopes to extend the scope of work south to Buckeye Avenue. Currently the project goes from South River Way to Frederick Avenue.

Gillis is going to gather accounting information over the next couple of weeksand determine how much the city has left from $1.3 million federal grant the city is using to pay for the work. Gillis plans to present that figure at the next council meeting.

During public comments, residents voiced their opinions about traffic problems on Fowler Road.

“What are we going to do?” asked Millwood resident Mike Ellis, who lives on Fowler. “Wait for an accident? There is no provision for safety at all.”

“I don’t think there is a problem,” said Jennifer Ferguson, who uses Fowler Road to get home. “I think it would be a waste of Millwood’s money to go through a traffic study.”

Last May, the council approved extra police patrols to monitor traffic problems expressed by residents. During the meeting, Mayor Dan Mork presented the council a summary of these patrols. In the first 21 days 66 citations were issued . Of those, 18 were on Fowler and Empire roads.

Along with the addition of extra patrols, the council approved a contract for Welch Comer to conduct an independent engineering traffic study of the Empire, Fowler and Butler roads.

The scope of work for the study includes evaluating alternative methods of slowing and reducing traffic and preparing cost estimates for the methods. Total cost of the study is not to exceed $4,000. Gillis said he plans to present recommendations to the council during the council’s September meeting.

The council further approved a design for a new 30-foot gazebo, costing $41,011. The city plans to build the gazebo on the east end of Millwood Park.

At the end of the meeting, Councilman Kevin Freeman suggested the mayor begin negotiations with Spokane County to obtain the right-of-way for a parcel of land running parallel to the railroad tracks. The county currently controls the right-of-way.


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