February 2, 2012 in Washington Voices

Trench will be dug on Evergreen for new water line

City weighing road options
By The Spokesman-Review
Map of this story's location

A lengthy discussion Tuesday about whether Spokane Valley should repave a section of Evergreen Road that will be dug up for a new water line seemed to leave several City Council members unsure of how they wanted to proceed.

Vera Water and Power needs to dig a trench down the middle of Evergreen from 16th to 32nd and on 32nd from Evergreen to Best Road to put in a new 20-inch water line, said senior capital projects engineer Steve Worley. Vera wanted to do the project last year but agreed to postpone it until 2012 to give the city time to consider what it wants to do, he said.

Worley said he was recommending the city treat it the same way it did the recent sewer projects by doing a full width paving instead of leaving a patched roadway. Some sections of the road are in extremely poor condition and city staff has them on its list of road preservation projects needed over the next two years, he said.

Staff is proposing doing a grind and overlay of Evergreen from 16th to 24th and 32nd from Evergreen to Best. The section of Evergreen from 24th to 32nd needs to be dug up and replaced, Worley said. “We would recommend tearing it out completely,” he said.

The estimated cost of the project is $630,000 plus $54,000 for adding a sidewalk from 24th to 32nd. Bike lanes could also be added, he said. The price includes a contingency fund and bids could come in lower than the estimate, he said.

Councilman Arne Woodard said the east side of Evergreen appears to have room for a bike lane, but not the west side. “How much of this $684,000 is paying for bike lanes?” he said. “It’s going to be something around $80,000. I’m not against bicycles, but I’m against painting the bike lanes. We can do it at some other point.”

Staff also recommended using the $500,000 set aside for street preservation to help pay for the project, which councilman Chuck Hafner questioned.

The money wasn’t designated for a specific project, said Public Works Director Neil Kersten. “It was just $500,000 in the street fund,” he said. “It’s scheduled for preservation work.”

Worley said the city has tried repeatedly to get grant money to pay to repair Evergreen, but the project doesn’t score well because it’s in a residential neighborhood. “We’ve tried and tried on several occasions,” he said.

Hafner asked if the city had streets in worse condition that should be fixed first. “If Vera puts a trench cut down the middle of the road, it will significantly deteriorate the condition of this road,” Kersten said.

City Manager Mike Jackson said Vera would be doing the water line installation no matter what the city decided. “Vera needs to move ahead,” he said.

Councilman Gary Schimmels said the city should treat it the same as the full-width paving done after the sewer projects. “That’s the best money we have spent in the Valley,” he said.

The council decided to fund that full-width paving in 2010, said Mayor Tom Towey. “To be consistent we would full-pave after they dig that trench,” he said. “It’s a worthwhile project.”

Kersten said the city has so many streets that need to be repaired that it could spend 20 times the street preservation money it has in one year. “You can’t take this half million and do a $4 million project,” he said.

Schimmels said the city would need less than $700,000 to pay for what is a substantial project and would be “remiss” not to take advantage of it. “That’s a large bargain,” he said.

The council agreed to discuss the project further during its winter retreat scheduled for Tuesday.

In other business, the council voted to approve the renewal of a park maintenance contract with Senske Lawn and Tree Care. The cost increased 1 percent over the 2011 contract, plus money was added for the maintenance of the new Terrace View Park picnic shelter and Greenacres Park. Parks and Recreation Director Mike Stone said Senske has been doing an excellent job. “They have really helped us set a standard for maintenance,” he said.

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