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Getting There: Many road projects are coming to a close

Several unfinished local street construction projects are nearing completion, officials said last week.

Most notably, the reconstruction of Grand Boulevard from 29th Avenue to High Drive was finished in time for the start of school on Tuesday.

Jefferson Elementary School is right next to the project, where pavement was rolled out just last week.

Around the Spokane area, contractors are expected to beat the arrival of cold weather in the fall.

“Several of our projects are getting close to being wrapped up,” said Ann Deasy, a spokeswoman for the city of Spokane.

Second Avenue from Division Street to Howard Street has been torn up for weeks in the second part of a three-step effort to rebuild Second from Arthur Street to Sunset Boulevard.

Second between Division and Browne streets will be closed Wednesday through Friday for paving. The closure will last from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.

Elsewhere, Wellesley Avenue along Shadle Park Shopping Center remains under reconstruction. However, it is ahead of schedule and could reopen by the end of September, she said.

The second phase of Mission Avenue reconstruction from Napa to Greene streets is a few weeks from being completed. The section from Hamilton Street to Napa reopened earlier this summer.

Also complete is Post Street from Maxwell to Cleveland avenues. Post reopened a couple of weeks ago.

Hatch Road and 57th Avenue from Perry Street to 43rd Avenue is open again.

Construction work near the Spokane Valley Mall is on schedule and headed for completion this month.

A contractor has already finished a new arterial extending Indiana Avenue from Sullivan Road to the intersection of Mission Avenue and Flora Road.

A dedication ceremony is being planned for that project, which includes an area for shops and a small plaza and play area in a widened median between the travel lanes.

The dedication will be held after the improvements are completed in a separate project at the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan Road.

That project could be finished as early as Sept. 13, said Spokane Valley spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch.

“Drivers have been really understanding of the inconvenience,” she said.

Valley eyes bridge fixes on Sullivan Road

Spokane Valley officials are looking at the possibility of shoring up the southbound bridge for Sullivan Road over the Spokane River so weight restrictions, imposed earlier this year, can be lifted.

Branch said the restrictions have been an inconvenience for commercial traffic along Sullivan Road, and City Council members want some ideas from their consultant on whether temporary fixes could alleviate the problem.

The city has funding for preliminary design and environmental studies and is seeking funding for construction of a new southbound bridge, estimated to cost $20 million.

The weight restrictions were imposed to preserve remaining life in the aging bridge while the city waits for funding for a new one.

STA ads spark controversy

Atheist ads, which appeared on Spokane Transit Authority buses last week, have stirred up some controversy.

“Are you good without God?” the ads ask, with a second line that reads, “Millions Are.”

We asked the Rev. Steve Richardson, executive pastor at Fourth Memorial Church in Spokane, for his reaction.

In an email, he wrote, “God doesn’t need me to defend Him. I think He speaks well enough for Himself. Too bad people don’t have the ears to hear Him.”

Thomas J. Brown, president and a founding member of the Spokane Secular Society, said he expects controversy, but believes that people mostly respect the free speech aspect of the campaign, which was financed with a $4,500 grant from a national organization known as the United Coalition of Reason.

“We’re your friends and neighbors,” Brown said of atheists and agnostics. “Here we are.”