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Road projects set to begin

Sat., March 26, 2011, midnight

Less disruption in Spokane Valley

The construction season has begun, and while Spokane Valley is dotted with projects, they should be less disruptive than the large projects of last year. Several neighborhoods will see streets ripped up to add sewer lines, which will have an extreme but localized impact on residents.

Some sewer projects are under way, and the first road projects are expected to begin in April. Some are funded by state and federal grants, which are matched by the city. One of the largest projects, the extension of Indiana Avenue east of Sullivan Road, will have less effect on traffic because there isn’t currently a road there. The intersection of Mission Avenue and Flora Road will be closed for the installation of a roundabout, but detour routes will be in place. The contractor will be required to provide a route through the area to get to a nearby Centennial Trail trailhead, said engineer Steve Worley. “He has to leave access to the trailhead,” he said.

Construction was set to begin in mid-April, but there is a big question mark by the project now after the Spokane Valley City Council recently decided to put off the vote to award the construction bid until April 5.

If the project goes ahead, it is scheduled to be done by July 4, after which the city will begin installing a concrete intersection at Sullivan and Indiana. The work there will include adding an additional turn lane for eastbound Indiana traffic to turn south on Sullivan. The intersection will remain open during construction because there are no detour routes available, Worley said. “There’s no way we can do a complete (shutdown) because of the river and the mall,” he said.

The intersection project was carefully coordinated to take place after the Indiana extension was complete so drivers could use the new road to access businesses on Indiana east of Sullivan, Worley said. Nearby business owners also asked that construction take place during July and August to have the least impact on their business. “We try everything we can to minimize the impact to businesses and the traveling public as much as we can,” he said.

Railroad crossing improvements are planned for the Pines Road and Mansfield Avenue intersection, but a start date hasn’t been set. Changes will be made to the crossing gates and lights. “It’s work that the railroad will do themselves,” Worley said. “They will probably close the crossing. They have to relocate some of the crossing arms.”

Work on Argonne Road is expected to begin in late summer or early fall. A northbound right turn lane will be put in at Montgomery Avenue and the intersection of Argonne and Knox Avenue will be altered to improve traffic flow. “We will be replacing the signal at Knox,” Worley said.

The Broadway Avenue Safety Project was held over from last year. Plans are to restripe the road from Park Road to Pines to create two traffic lanes, a center turn lane and bike lanes. It was originally expected to be put out to bid this spring, but Worley said the project has been delayed again because the city wants to add new pavement to the section of Broadway between Park and Vista Road. It makes sense to put both projects on the same bid, he said. “Why stripe the road and then come in and overlay it?” The project is expected to be completed this summer.

The city will also be installing intelligent transportation systems along Sprague Avenue between University Road and Evergreen Road. Traffic disruption is expected to be minimal. A grant will pay for the addition of sidewalks on 24th Avenue between Adams Road and Sullivan. As part of the city’s normal annual road striping, bike lanes will be added in some areas. The lanes will be added to Pines between 32nd and 24th avenues; University Road from Sprague to Mission; and Sprague from Sullivan to Corbin Road.

The city can add a 4-foot-wide bike lane while still leaving a 12-foot travel lane, Worley said. “There’s room and there’s a need,” Worley said. “When the county built these roads they did a wider lane.”

Commuters will also have to deal with several Washington State Department of Transportation construction projects. The state will add new lanes to Interstate 90 between Sullivan and Barker Road and replace the existing asphalt with concrete. There are also plans to put in centerline rumble strips on Highway 27 from 32nd to the south Spokane County line. The section of Highway 27 between Rockford and Freeman will also be chip sealed this summer.

Neighbors in several residential neighborhoods, however, will have to deal with torn up and closed streets for several months. Spokane County will install sewer in the Green Haven and Micaview as the final two “Sewering the Valley” projects. The Green Haven project will include the area bounded by Broadway to the north, Appleway to the South, Flora to the west and Barker to the east.

Only one part of the project has gone out to bid and the start date is uncertain, said Spokane County construction engineer Paul Lennemann. The northern part of the project may begin as soon as mid to late April and is expected to be complete by November.

The Mica View project includes the area bounded by Sprague to the North, Eighth Avenue to the south, Barker to the west and Hodges Road to the east. It should begin the first week of April and be complete by November, Lennemann said.

Both projects will result in the closure of sections of Barker, but it will not be closed for the entire length of the project, Lennemann said. The contractors will be limited in the number of working days it will be shut down. “We are detouring Barker on Long and Eighth, which is a residential street,” he said. “We’d appreciate it if traffic would be courteous and slow down.”

The county is also finishing up sewer projects it began last year in the Greenacres, Corbin and Cronk neighborhoods. The county knew last year that most of the projects would not be finished, Lennemann said. “We did expect it to carry over,” he said. “It was bid late enough in the year that we knew it wouldn’t be completed.”

Work has already begun in Greenacres, where a crew is installing a main sewer line on Boone Avenue traveling toward Barker. A main line is also going in on Mission. “The final paving date is expected to be the first week of June,” Lennemann said, though some areas will be finished sooner than that.

Installation in the Corbin neighborhood is occurring south of Appleway. “We have Bow west of Barker, we have Barker and we have Sprague,” he said. “I think we’re shooting for the first of June on that one also.”

There is about three weeks worth of work left on Boone east of Barker in the Cronk neighborhood. Work is scheduled to begin next week, Lennemann said. “It’s just 900 feet of pipe,” he said.

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