Rock mining in the Marshall area of southwest Spokane County is putting dozens of heavy loads on Cheney-Spokane Road, and residents of the area said they are concerned about public safety.
Knife River Corp., which operates in 17 states, has moved production to an old gravel mining area north of the two-lane road.
The company is hauling aggregate rock to road construction sites in the region, including a new interchange project at U.S. Highway 195 and Cheney-Spokane Road.
A group of residents appeared before Spokane County commissioners last week to ask for help keeping traffic safe and reducing the noise of rock crushing at night.
“From a public safety standpoint, we are very concerned,” said Jeff Anderson of the Marshall Area Concerned Citizens.
Anderson said that the quarry is putting 50 to 100 large truckloads a day on Cheney-Spokane Road.
He recommended that the entrance to the pit be moved to Grove Road, a short distance to the southwest, to reduce the risk of a traffic accident.
County Engineer Bob Brueggeman said a previously planned project to improve safety along Cheney-Spokane Road should help. Vegetation that had been blocking driver views along the road is being removed. New signs and guardrails are being installed, he said.
Knife River has agreed to install a left-turn lane at the entrance to its gravel pit just north of Marshall, county officials said.
The pit entrance is near a bus staging area for Cheney schools, making the truck traffic a hazard for children changing buses, residents said.
Anderson asked commissioners to change county ordinances to prohibit nighttime crushing operations. He said the crushing started in April.
Commissioners Todd Mielke and Shelly O’Quinn said they were reluctant to adopt new noise rules. They told the residents to contact Knife River.
Knife River told commissioners it has plans to produce asphalt or concrete pavement at the site. Knife River owns three parcels totaling 16 acres. The property was purchased from Randall Geschke in June, according to county records.
Tony Spilde, a spokesman for Knife River, said in an email, “We recently acquired the property and are committed to operating safely there, which includes how our truck drivers enter or exit traffic from our property. We want to be good neighbors in Marshall and will listen to concerns residents have.”
Residents said they are also concerned that use of groundwater for the mining operation could result in pollutants migrating from a contaminated dump site near Marshall.
Blasting east of pass will close I-90
More rock blasting east of Snoqualmie Pass on Interstate 90 is planned for 7:30 p.m. daily, today through Thursday. The freeway will close for at least an hour each night to allow crews to remove rock from the roadway. A contractor is widening I-90 east of Hyak.
Multiple other construction zones may cause delays from Ellensburg to North Bend today through Friday.
Work on Pines, Francis continues
Work on Pines Road from Trent to 32nd avenues continues this week from 7 p.m.-7 a.m. each night. Also, sidewalk restrictions are possible in some locations.
Roadwork continues also on Francis Avenue west of Division Street and Nine Mile Road northward to the Stevens County line. The roadway is being repaved and sidewalks upgraded.
Another continuing project slowing traffic is construction of a new bridge for Francis east of Market and a rebuilt intersection at Francis and Market. The bridge will carry traffic over the future North Spokane Corridor as well as BNSF Railway lines.
Bridge inspections, rehab work
In Spokane, traffic on the Hatch Road Bridge at Highway 195 will be reduced to one lane on Friday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for inspection.
Inspection is also planned on the Monroe Street Bridge on July 26 starting at 7 a.m. That work will close one lane of traffic.
The project to rehabilitate Rockwood Boulevard from Cowley Street to Southeast Boulevard will enter its second phase of construction between Garfield Street and Cowley with installation of catch basins.
The intersection of Monroe Street at Garland Avenue will close today from 6:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and on Tuesday from 6:30 a.m.-4 p.m. for repaving work. Garland from Monroe to Howard Street will have one lane closed as well.
Keller ferry will resume in August
The Keller ferry across the Columbia River on state Highway 21 north of Davenport continues to be shut down while a crew rebuilds the terminals for a new ferry, named Sanpoil, scheduled to begin service Aug. 14.
I-90 lighting work could close shoulders
New lighting for I-90 from Latah Creek to Liberty Park could cause intermittent shoulder closures in the vicinity of the Hamilton Street interchange.