February 18, 2013 in City

Getting There: Francis Avenue repaving starts this spring

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Map of this story's location

Francis Avenue is getting a facelift starting this spring.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is planning to repave the portion of the arterial route west of Division Street that serves as state Highway 291.

The work will extend north on Nine Mile Road to Lowell Avenue. Pavement patching is planned from Lowell to the Stevens County line near Suncrest.

The job is one of three major repaving projects planned on state highways in the Spokane area this year. All involve hiring private contractors.

Today, Spokane city crews will be working on traffic signals at Francis Avenue and Monroe Street and at Francis Avenue and Wall Street. They are going to remove the existing signals and install temporary lights in preparation of the repaving work.

Al Gilson, spokesman for WSDOT, said the work could cause traffic backups and minor delays.

“It’s going to be extra busy,” he said. “That road is in horrendous condition.”

In addition, the city of Spokane will be repaving a segment of Francis east of Division to Haven Street this construction season. The city project will be split into two contracts, the first being Francis from Division to Crestline streets. That will be followed by the segment from Crestline to Haven.

The estimated cost for the two city repaving projects is $4.7 million.

Also planned for this year’s construction season are repaving projects on U.S. Highway 2 west of Spokane and Pines Road in Spokane Valley.

On U.S. 2, the state wants to repave the highway from Interstate 90 to Espanola Road. The job will be advertised for bids in May.

Pines Road, which serves as state Highway 27, will be repaved from Mansfield Avenue just north of Interstate 90 to 32nd Avenue to the south.

In addition, the state is going to fund crack sealing on Pines Road from Mansfield to Trent Avenue. That project is also being advertised in May for bids.

Interstate 90 lighting upgrade

Work crews will be on Interstate 90 in downtown Spokane starting today, undertaking a refit of wiring and light fixtures.

The work will take place between Division Street and the Latah Creek Bridge. Lane restrictions are possible on city streets below the downtown freeway viaduct.

Weight restrictions on county roads

In another sign that spring is near, the Spokane County roads department last week announced seasonal weight restrictions on county roads.

Thawing temperatures leave roadways vulnerable to damage from excess weight. Typically, the restrictions do not apply to passenger vehicles.

Commercial and construction vehicles may need to be carrying lighter loads to meet the restrictions, expected to last for six weeks.

Signs will be posted on roads under restrictions.

For more information, go to spokanecounty.org/engineer or call (509) 477-3600.

STA, meters on holiday

The Spokane Transit Authority will be operating today on a holiday schedule in honor of Presidents Day. The holiday schedule is the same as the Sunday schedule.

Presidents Day also brings a holiday for parking meters in Spokane. Don’t put any money in them today because parking is free. However, the city will do garbage and recycling pickup under their normal Monday schedule.

Derelict vessels, owners targeted

The Washington state Department of Natural Resources is pushing for legislation that will strengthen the state’s hand in getting derelict and sunken vessels removed from waterways.

Two bills in the Legislature would hold vessel owners accountable for removing derelict vessels before they become a hazard and have to be removed by the state.

The legislation follows a fire and sinking last year of the Deep Sea vessel in Penn Cove, which resulted in an oil cleanup and the raising and removal of the vessel, at a cost to the state of $3 million. In addition, a famed shellfish farm was idled for at least a month.

No love in the air on Allegiant flight

This month’s inaugural flight of Allegiant Air from Spokane to Honolulu brought some unexpected commotion to the passenger cabin.

An employee of another airline handed out leaflets to other passengers during the flight. The leaflets criticized Allegiant’s practice of terminating services on poorly performing routes. The person handing out the leaflets was a paying passenger.

Upon arrival at Honolulu, the passenger with the leaflets was questioned by law officers after being alerted by the airline.

Allegiant currently is in negotiations with the Transport Workers Union on a first contract with its employees.

A spokeswoman for Allegiant said in an email that the vast majority of Allegiant’s routes have been successful.

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