Morning commuters on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley found themselves in a traffic jam Wednesday morning because of a construction delay in a repaving project that started earlier in the week.
Sprague is being repaved from Park to Vista roads in the first of several repaving jobs along Sprague this construction season.
Craig Aldworth, Spokane Valley senior engineer, said that the contractor on the job was grinding down part of the pavement to get ready for resurfacing early Wednesday and had reduced westbound traffic to a single lane.
The grinding was supposed to be completed by 7 a.m., but the job took longer than expected.
In addition to the temporary lane restriction from grinding, traffic lights were in regular operation, and that added to congestion, Aldworth said.
Traffic on Thursday morning was much improved from the delays on Wednesday, he said. Two lanes are being left open in each direction during the work.
Traffic lights were put into flashing mode and Park Road access to Sprague was cut off. Drivers using Park are now detouring.
“We regret we caused inconvenience to the traveling public, but it was an unforeseen event,” Aldworth said.
Even with traffic moving more smoothly Thursday morning, Aldworth said drivers might want to consider an alternate route during the project, which should be finished by April 28 or 29.
In addition to the grinding delay, workers also discovered that two valves on natural gas lines were leaking, which resulted in repairs on Thursday by Avista crews.
Also on Sprague, the city is ready to start a $1 million repaving at Argonne Road and Sprague on May 12, including Argonne to Broadway Avenue. Another section of Sprague to be resurfaced is from Havana to Interstate 90.
Also, work is planned at Sprague and Fancher Road and on Sprague eastward from I-90 to University Road.
Once those jobs are done, Spokane Valley will have repaved the entire length of Sprague from Havana to Sullivan over a six-year period, city officials said.
The repaving project this week was delayed from work that could not be completed last season because of early cold weather.