April 5, 2012 in Washington Voices

Spokane Valley road work about to start

By The Spokesman-Review
 

There are only six road and bridge construction projects scheduled for inside the Spokane Valley city limits this year, but three of the projects will impact the city’s busiest streets: Sullivan Road, Sprague Avenue and Argonne Road.

The first major project of the season will also be the nastiest in terms of impact on commuters, residents and shoppers. Reconstruction of Sprague Avenue from Evergreen to Sullivan roads is set to begin May 14. The work will occur in phases, beginning on the east end with crews working on the westbound lanes first. The west end of the project, Evergreen Road to just east of Adams Road, will be second. Traffic on Sprague will be limited to one lane in each direction with a center turn lane during construction.

The city is requiring constant access to businesses, said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley. Contractors who attended a pre-bid meeting were told there would be penalties if that requirement is not met, Worley said. The contractor will also be required to have a public liaison coordinator who will communicate with businesses along the construction route.

“We were very clear what we were looking for,” he said. “Nobody seemed to have a problem with it.”

The project is expected to be complete by July 27. The contractor will be offered incentives for finishing early, Worley said.

In addition to ripping up and replacing the road, crews will upgrade traffic signals and sidewalks as well as improve stormwater drainage. Detours will be in place.

Evergreen Road will be improved from 16th to 32nd avenues, along with 32nd Avenue from Evergreen to Best Road. The project is being done in partnership with Vera Water and Power, which is installing a new water main. The city decided to take advantage of Vera’s project and resurface Evergreen from 16th to 24th and 32nd. The section of Evergreen from 24th to 32nd is in bad enough shape that it will be torn out and reconstructed.

During construction Evergreen will be closed to through traffic, Worley said. “We would encourage people to find alternate routes,” he said. The project is scheduled to begin June 18 and is expected to last seven or eight weeks. The work will be done in three phases, starting with the northernmost section.

The work planned for the Argonne Road corridor isn’t extensive, but will affect traffic. The city will add a northbound right turn lane at Montgomery Avenue and exchange a center median turn signal at Argonne and Knox Avenue for an overhead one.

“We’ll probably mostly have single lane restrictions on Argonne at Knox and Montgomery,” Worley said.

Argonne Road has twice the daily traffic that Sullivan Road does and the city is looking for ways to minimize the traffic disruption, Worley said. “We are considering doing the work at night,” he said.

The project should begin in July. “We have not acquired all the right of way yet,” he said. “It’s difficult to know when in July.”

While Sullivan Road may carry less traffic than Argonne, it’s still a major north-south route. Crews will be modifying drains on the Sullivan Road bridge this summer so runoff does not flow directly into the Spokane River. The Department of Ecology-funded project will route water off the bridge and into a swale.

The swale has already been sized to accept runoff from the new, wider southbound bridge that is expected to be built in the next few years, Worley said.

“We’re trying to coordinate this summer’s work with the bridge replacement,” he said. “We have some very forward-thinking engineers. We do a lot of coordinating. We don’t like to have to redo anything.”

During the drain work, traffic on the bridge will be limited to one lane in each direction, which may create some inconvenience for drivers. The project is expected to begin July 20 and take three weeks.

The more minor of the city’s projects are the installation of intelligent transportation systems on Pines Road from Trent to Sprague and on Sprague from Evergreen to Sullivan. The installation of fiber optic cable will connect the traffic lights for better timing and cameras will be installed to keep an eye on traffic flow. Both projects will only require occasional lane closures and are expected to take place from August to September.

The conduit needed for the Sprague project will be installed during the reconstruction of the road. “They’ll just be putting fiber through the conduit and installing cameras,” Worley said.

Residents of the Green Haven neighborhood along Barker Road from Broadway to Appleway avenues will notice crews at work starting Monday to complete Spokane County’s final sewer project. Crews were unable to finish the project last fall. Barker Road will be shut down for two to three weeks. Additional work on side streets will last another two to three weeks.

Spokane County has a few minor road projects in the area around Spokane Valley this year. Sidewalks will be installed near Pasadena Park Elementary on Upriver Drive. The Centennial Trail will be realigned under the new Appleway Bridge near Stateline. Safety improvements, including guardrails and signs, are set to be installed on the Palouse Highway from Highway 27 to the Spokane city limits and on Glenrose Road from 57th Avenue to the Spokane city limits.

Drivers on Interstate 90 put up with a lot of headaches last year when the Washington State Department of Transportation widened the freeway between Sullivan Road and Barker Road. The project wasn’t completed and can’t resume until the weather improves, said DOT spokesman Al Gilson. “It’s still officially listed on winter shutdown,” he said. “It depends on the weather. It’s got to be dry and it’s got to be warm.”

The department is also planning a chip seal project on State Route 278 between Rockford and the Idaho state line this summer. That project is also weather dependent.

“We don’t chip seal in the rain, we don’t chip seal when it’s really hot,” he said. “It’s got to be consistently warm.”

Chip seal projects are often a shifting target, with crews moving around frequently, Gilson said. While the project is under way, traffic will be limited to a single lane. Drivers can expect delays.


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