The project to extend Indiana Avenue east to the intersection of Flora Road and Mission Street began Monday, but the traveling public shouldn’t notice much of an impact for the first few weeks. All of the work in the beginning stages will be on the west end of the project where Indiana dead-ends east of Sullivan Road.
The project was supposed to begin in mid-April, but the Spokane Valley City Council delayed taking action to award the construction bid until some neighborhood concerns with the design were addressed. With the new construction schedule, the current Spokane County sewer work on Mission east of Flora should be complete before the intersection of Flora and Mission is shut down to install a roundabout. “The delay in the project worked out because the county is hoping to pave June 1,” said Spokane Valley engineer Craig Aldworth.
The contractor does not plan to shut down the intersection until about the second week of June, he said. “We coordinated with the county,” Aldworth said. “They’ve got a big empty field” to work in before starting on the intersection.
The new road is a one-way couplet that surrounds a football-shaped empty area in the center. The sides of the couplet will merge before connecting to Indiana on the southwest end and the Mission and Flora intersection on the northeast end. There will be a sidewalk and bike lanes on both pieces of the couplet, plus turnarounds on each end of the couplet.
The parts added to make getting around easier for residents include a 10-foot pathway on the north side of Mission that people can use to access the Mission Avenue trailhead of the Centennial Trail. A connecting street was added that cuts across the open area to provide easier access to greenhouses owned by Appleway Florist on the north side of Mission.
The changes added an estimated $30,000 to the project. The construction costs should total $1.1 million with 75 percent of the cost coming from a state run Transportation Improvement Board grant.
The contractor is required to maintain public access to the Mission trailhead during construction in some way, said senior engineer Steve Worley. “We don’t tell the contractor how to do it,” he said. “We just say he has to keep it open.”
The intersection of Mission and Flora is expected to be shut down for five weeks in June and July. The entire project should be complete by mid-July, after which the work on the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan will begin.
But after the new road is finished, people will not be driving down Indiana Avenue. Indiana runs along the north side of the Spokane Valley Mall and across Sullivan to where it currently ends on the edge of the Greenacres neighborhood south of Mission. In an odd twist, there’s a short street named Indiana Avenue to the north of Mission in Greenacres, which creates the possibility for confusion if there were two Indiana Avenues. So the southern piece of the couplet carrying eastbound traffic will be called Indiana Parkway and the northern piece carrying westbound traffic will be named Mission Parkway. “We can’t call this Indiana Avenue,” Worley said. “We didn’t create the problem. We did our best to fix it.”