Meeting to cover proposals for Centennial Trail’s ‘Mission Gap’

MONDAY, DEC. 31, 2012

The Centennial Trail crossing at Mission Avenue in east Spokane always has been a bit dicey.

Mission is a busy arterial road. Two other busy streets – Perry and Upriver Drive – connect into Mission in the vicinity of the trail.

There’s a city swimming pool and parking lot to the south, along with Mission Park. And the BNSF Railway line running north of Spokane crosses Mission and the trail at Mission Avenue.

Now, the city of Spokane is working with the Friends of the Centennial Trail and other parties to come up with a plan to improve the area known as the “Mission Gap.”

A community meeting is planned Jan. 8 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Stevens Elementary School multipurpose room, 1717 E. Sinto Ave., to show seven alternatives for the trail crossing.

They include underpass designs and pedestrian bridges, as well as cheaper alternatives.

Officials hope to hear from residents about the proposals.The design firm David Evans and Associates has prepared the preliminary options under contract with the city and is studying the feasibility of each. No price estimates have been given.

Grant Wencel, bike and pedestrian coordinator for the city and manager of the Mission Avenue crossing project, said any changes will affect the environment, neighborhood, traffic and land uses in different ways.

“There are a lot of tradeoffs,” he said.

The goal is to select a plan and move ahead with design and funding. The proposal selected will then be able to compete for grant money, Wencel said.

The website for the Friends of the Centennial Trail shows two video diagrams of underpasses at Mission Avenue and beneath the BNSF line that were prepared by another consultant.

To view them, go to www.spokanecentennial

The 37-mile Washington section of the trail runs from Nine Mile Falls to the Idaho state line. The trail continues to Higgens Point on Lake Coeur d’Alene southeast of Coeur d’Alene.

In Washington, the bulk of the trail was built as a project of the state’s centennial celebration in 1989. The initial work lasted until 1991. However, large sections of trail west of downtown Spokane have yet to be completed.

Road work on hold for holiday traffic

Construction projects on Eastern Washington state highways remain on pause through Tuesday. The Washington State Department of Transportation ordered a New Year’s lull in work to make more room for holiday traffic.

After Tuesday, work may resume on fiber-optic utility installation along state Route 20 in Ferry County and in Stevens County east of Colville. The work is dependent on weather.

Bridge overhaul ends for winter

Work on the Pend Oreille County bridge over the Pend Oreille River at Ione has been suspended for the winter season. The project, which started this year, involves repair work and new paint.

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