September 8, 2011 in Washington Voices

Area’s past causing current sewer delays

Construction crews find boulders, irrigation remnants
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Residents in the Green Haven neighborhood between Flora and Barker roads north of Appleway can blame the Great Spokane Flood at the end of the last Ice Age for the delays in sewer construction this summer.

That flood likely deposited the huge, car-size boulders that are getting in the way of digging crews. “We’re getting into those boulders about a foot or two from where the pipe needs to go,” said Spokane County construction engineer Paul Lennemann. Crews have to dig deeper than planned, pull out the boulders and then backfill the holes left behind.

The other problem that came up is the remnants of the irrigation system that used to stretch through the Valley. “What we’re coming across is the siphons that got the water from one side of the road, under the road and to the flume on the other side of the road,” Lennemann said. “These are massive concrete structures.”

It can take two days to break up and remove the concrete from one of those siphons, he said.

The delays have put the completion date for the project up in the air. Lennemann said he is analyzing whether he should have crews push forward until weather shuts them down or just try to repave what has been dug up so far. The county doesn’t want to have to wait until next year to finish the project, Lennemann said. “I’m working with the contractor to not do that,” he said.

The news is better for the other neighborhoods that have struggled though long weeks of ripped up streets. Roadwork in phase 2 of the Micaview project south of Sprague Avenue and east of Hodges Road is nearly complete and repaving should be done by mid-October.

“We have some purple pipe, which is reclaimed sewer water, that we’re installing in conjunction with Liberty Lake,” he said. “Our contractor was hired by Avista to install some gas mains down there, too. The crystal ball tells me we should be done digging in that area in the last week of September.”

The streets in the second phase of the Green Haven project were just repaved and finishing touches are under way. Those streets include Long Road from Cowley Avenue to Appleway and Greenacres Road from Cowley Avenue to Appleway.

Phase 1 of the Micaview project is also essentially complete, with just some shoulder work and other minor issues to be finished. That area includes Barker Road from Sprague to Eighth as well as Second and Fourth avenues between Barker and Hodges.

The Micaview and Green Haven neighborhoods are the final two “Sewering the Valley” projects. Spokane County has been installing sewer pipes in Spokane Valley neighborhoods for the last 20 years.

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