May 4, 2009 in City

Work on Argonne Road in Millwood to slow traffic

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Motorists will find slow going through Millwood starting tonight with the reconstruction of Argonne Road that will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction until early August.

Red Diamond Construction, of Spokane Valley, won an $822,000 contract to repair and rebuild the roadway through the commercial area between Frederick Avenue and South Riverway.

Because the area sees heavy traffic during the day, lane restrictions could cause backups at peak travel times. Traffic counts show that 40,000 vehicles pass through the area each day.

“I think a slowdown is unavoidable,” said Matt Gillis, project manager and engineer for Welch-Comer Engineers of Coeur d’Alene, which was hired for project design and management.

However, project planners hope to keep traffic flowing by limiting local access to side streets through the construction zone. Drivers will not be allowed to make left or right turns from the through lanes. Local access in Millwood is recommended by using Grace Avenue on the south end of the construction or South Riverway to the north.

Work will be done between 7 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., Mondays through Fridays. That should help reduce disruption to businesses, Gillis said.

“What I think we can do is make it as safe and clear as possible,” Gillis said.

The speed limit through the construction zone will be 25 mph.

Gillis said he and the contractor will work with business owners during construction to ensure they have as much access as possible during the project.

After construction starts, traffic flow should improve once drivers learn to navigate the zone or avoid it altogether, he said.

Work is beginning tonight with asphalt removal in the western two lanes of the four-lane thoroughfare. After the west side is rebuilt, work will shift to the east side.

The project will include excavation to lay a new gravel base. A concrete intersection is going where Argonne meets Empire and Euclid avenues.

Total cost of the project is $1.3 million. In addition, a separate contract is calling for improvements to sidewalks and installation of curb ramps to improve accessibility for people in wheelchairs and to fill out the sidewalk system through Millwood. The sidewalk work is budgeted at $120,000, and bids will be opened for that job May 14.

Bike to Work Week starts Sunday

Registration for Spokane’s second annual Bike to Work Week from May 10-16 has reached nearly 800 riders, with a goal for the event of 1,200, organizer Barb Chamberlain reported Friday.

Last year’s five-day event drew 1,000 riders. This year’s event is being expanded to seven days.

A new Commute Challenge team event has drawn 40 teams from local government, businesses, education and nonprofit organizations, Chamberlain said. Teams of four to 10 riders can compete against other teams.

She said Bike to Work is not just for regular commuters. “Even if you only bike one day during this week, you are biking to work,” she said.

A series of events is planned, starting with an education fair on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at River Park Square.

Bike to Work Spokane is organized by a volunteer committee of the SpokeFest Association in conjunction with the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board and the Bicycle Alliance of Washington.

To sign up, go to www.biketoworkspokane.org/. Registration is free.

Group ride celebrates new Idaho trail

The Latah Trail Foundation in Moscow, Idaho, is celebrating the completion of a new Troy-Moscow trail on Saturday with a ride and barbecue lunch at Troy City Park, said Nora Locken, executive director of the foundation.

A group bike ride on the trail to Troy begins from a parking lot at the corner of Highway 8 and Blaine Street in Moscow at 10 a.m. The $2 barbecue will be at the park at noon, followed by a ribbon-cutting at 1 p.m.

For more information, call Locken at (208) 882-5458 or by e-mail at latahtrail@gmail.com.

Road work ahead

•An open house to share information on this summer’s improvements along Sprague Avenue from University to Sullivan roads is scheduled Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Spokane Valley City Hall chambers, 11707 E. Sprague Ave.

Work begins this month and involves resurfacing and intersection and sidewalk improvements. Project engineer is Craig Aldworth, at (509) 688-0247.

•North Side traffic, already disrupted by projects near Shadle Park, is going to see more backups with construction starting today of a new intersection at Francis Avenue and Nevada Street.

Nevada between Decatur and Rosewood avenues will be closed while Francis is reduced to one lane in each direction. The work is expected to last until mid-June.

•Residential street sweeping is under way in much of Spokane.

•Work to improve traffic flow on the north side of Interstate 90 at Pines Road has resulted in several route changes and temporary detours.

The westbound onramp has been moved to the west off Montgomery Avenue, and eastbound traffic on Montgomery has been rerouted to the north.

In addition, the intersection of Pines and Indiana Avenue has temporary detours.

•In Spokane County, Freya Street from Wilding to Lincoln roads is closed for construction. Detours are in place. Bigelow Gulch Road from Havana Street to Palmer Road is also under construction with flaggers there to guide motorists through possible lane restrictions.

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


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