Detour of the Valley
Variety of road projects planned for city this summer
Spring break may be just arriving, but it’s not too soon to starting thinking about road construction, detours and closures. The city of Spokane Valley will start its first project, the reconstruction of the Broadway Avenue and Sullivan Road intersection, on April 12. Projects planned for this year will cost $8.5 million, with much of that money coming from state and federal grants and road funds.
The Sullivan corridor will see a lot of work this year, but the projects have been carefully scheduled so that only one is going on at a time. The first project presents a few challenges because crews will be working while traffic is still moving through the intersection. “There is no detour option,” said Spokane Valley senior engineer Craig Aldworth. “You do not shut down Wal-Mart for three weeks with no detour.”
People driving south on Sullivan will always be able to turn left onto Broadway to access Wal-Mart and other businesses. Traffic heading west on Broadway from Wal-Mart will always be able to turn both north and south on Sullivan. Access to Sullivan from the west side will be severely restricted during construction, Aldworth said. “There are going to be backups,” he said.
By far the most disruptive project in the Sullivan corridor will be the complete shutdown of the Sullivan and Sprague Avenue intersection for three weeks beginning June 21. The intersection is being shut down because it is quicker and cheaper to do it that way, Aldworth said. It would take eight weeks to rebuild the intersection if traffic was moving through it during construction. Aldworth said he talked to business owners in the area who urged him to get it done as quickly as possible. “The main problem is that 23,000-plus vehicles a day use this,” he said.
Sprague Avenue detours will be in place on Conklin and Adams roads. Traffic heading south on Sullivan will be directed to Broadway and northbound traffic will be sent on Fourth Avenue. All those streets were designed to carry considerably less traffic than Sprague or Sullivan. “We wish we had wide four-lane arterials all the way around it,” he said. “It’s going to be congested.”
While through traffic will be detoured well before the intersection, the roads will still be open right up to the construction area to allow access to businesses.
The third major project in the area is the reconstruction of Broadway between Moore and Flora roads. There will be limited road work from Moore to Conklin, but the area between Conklin and Flora is expected to be completely closed from the start of the project in mid-July until October. Spokane County will be installing sewer pipes while the road is torn up. The new road will have one lane in each direction, a center turn lane, sidewalks and a bike lane. A roundabout will also be installed at the intersection of Flora and Broadway, which tends to be congested in the afternoons now as Broadway traffic waits to turn left onto Flora.
Another section of Broadway from Pines Road to Park Road is also getting a major face lift. The road will be restriped and some sidewalks will get wheelchair ramps. When it is done the two lanes in each direction will be replaced with one lane in each direction, a center turn lane and a bike lane. “It’ll be similar to what you see east of Pines,” Aldworth said.
The changes are being made to make left turns safer and to avoid rear-end collisions. The road won’t be torn up, but there will be occasional lane closures that will slow traffic, so drivers may want to avoid it during construction from June to September. The project should be completed before school begins in the fall.
Spokane County will be installing sewers in four neighborhoods as part of its ongoing program to eliminate septic tanks in the Valley. Traffic in those areas will be severely disrupted, with limited access and some complete closures. All the projects are expected to last for several months. The West Farms and South Greenacres areas are first, with construction beginning in April. West Farms is in the area south of Sanson Avenue/Forker Road, north of Wellesley Avenue and west of Rees Road to the city limits. South Greenacres is south of the Spokane River between Flora and Barker roads and north of Mission Avenue.
The next two areas, Cronk and Corbin, will begin in May. Cronk is the area south of Mission between Barker Road and Hodges Road north of I-90. Corbin is south of Appleway Boulevard and north of Sprague between Long Road and Hodges Road.
All the other projects scheduled for the summer will have a much more limited effect on traffic. The city will use Community Development Block Grant funds to complete sidewalk improvements on Montgomery Avenue from Argonne Road to Bowdish Road, Euclid Avenue from Sullivan to Flora and Dishman-Mica Road from Fourth Avenue to Eighth Avenue. Some pedestrian ramps will be installed, a few gaps will be filled in and some of the existing sidewalks will be repaired.
“We won’t be able to fix everything in those areas,” Aldworth said. “We’re trying to correct the worst now.”
All the sidewalk projects will begin in June and are expected to take three weeks. Aldworth doesn’t expect drivers to notice much of an impact. “It will be very minimal,” he said. “We’ll just have a shoulder closure.”
An intelligent transportation system will be installed along Sprague from University Road to Evergreen Road beginning in July. Workers will be putting in fiber optic cable to link traffic signals so they can be programmed to maximize traffic flow. But the new pavement just installed last year will not be touched because the city planned ahead. “Last summer on the paving project there was also a conduit installed,” said project manager Ken Knutson.
“We try to have a rule where three years after we put down new pavement, nobody cuts it,” Aldworth said.
The city plans to build a pathway along the north side of 44th Avenue in the Ponderosa neighborhood. The road will also be widened between Sands Road and Van Marter Road and bike lanes will be added. Last year when sewer was installed in the area the road was slightly relocated to save several old Ponderosa Pines, Aldworth said. The pedestrian path will go in next to the trees from Sands to Schafer Road. “Right now it’s basically a horseback trail,” he said.
There will be some traffic disruption during the project, which is expected to be completed during the month of August.
People living in the south Greenacres neighborhood will have a direct route to the Valley Mall area after the city completes an extension of Indiana Avenue to Flora from its current end point east of Sullivan north of I-90. “That’s a project across private property,” Aldworth said. “There’s nothing there now.”
The project is scheduled to begin in the fall but is dependent on completing negotiations for right of way. It is expected to take three months.
The city has a map of the 2010 construction projects available on its Web site at www.spokanevalley.org.