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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Today’s highlights

Aliyah Forrester, 5, runs with a bucket and shovel Monday, through the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. Her grandparents, Doug and Teresa Sadler, help run the garden. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

Today you get a look at the stories we've been working on all week. Reporter Pia Hallenberg is continuing her look at local community gardens and recently stopped by the Pumpkin Patch Community Garden in Millwood. The garden still has some of its 57 plots available and also participates in the Plant a Row for the Hungry program, donating produce to Second Harvest.

In a departure from past practice, the Spokane Valley City Council is not allowing the Spokane Valley Fire Department to make a presentation on its replacement levy on the August ballot. The move caught the fire department by surprise, particularly since it gave similar presentations twice previously.

The work on the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project has been delays after a gas line was found only inches under the asphalt. It had to be relocated and buried deeper before the road work could continue. During Tuesday's meeting the Spokane Valley City Council voted to require a development agreement before land on Conklin Road just south of Broadway can be rezoned high density residential. The agreement would set restrictions on setbacks and building height on the land, which is surrounded by single family homes on land zoned low density residential.

The town of Fairfield has several programs for kids running this summer. Free lunch is available in the Community Center on weekdays and the town will again bus children to the Tekoa pool.

Saturday’s highlights

Teacher Kathy Bodrock gives eighth-grader Blake Womble a hug on the last day of school at Bowdish Middle School. SR photo/Lisa Leinberger

Welcome to summer! We'll celebrate by taking a look at today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger stopped by Bowdish Middle School on the last day of school. The students and teachers have a unique and fun way of saying goodbye - for the summer or forever - with their annual talent show.

Spokane Valley residents and commuters will notice that construction started on Evergreen Road today. Crews are working on the first phase between 16th and 24th Avenues. The road will be closed to all but local traffic, so plan to drive around that area. Liberty Lake Police and the Spokane County Bomb Squad had to deal with an unexploded bottle bomb made from household chemicals last week.

Young swimmers from all over the region gathered recently in Spokane for the Summer Solstice Swim Meet. Correspondent Cindy Hval attended the meet and talked to some of the swimmers. Cindy also has a column about her trials with custumer service as she upgraded her cell phone. As a recent survivor of cell phone company customer service myself, I can sympathize.

Traffic problems coming and going

There will be another traffic hangup popping up starting Tuesday in Spokane Valley, but a second traffic issue will go away. The eastbound lane of Mission at the Flora roundabout will be closed Tuesday through Friday for sidewalk ramp work. Traffic will be detoured down Boone and Long.

Sprague Avenue has been down to one lane in each direction at Custer Road and that project is expected to wrap up by noon Tuesday. Crews have been doing utility and signal upgrades.

Road work on Sprague Avenue, University Road

There will be some road work on Sprague Avenue near the new Wal-Mart under construction on the west end of town. Sprague is reduced to one lane westbound and one lane eastbout at Custer Road beginning today and going through May 19 for utility and signal work. Expect delays if you are driving through the area. Reporter Mike Prager has more information on this project here (scroll down to second item).

There is also some road work underway on University Road between Sprague Avenue to 16th Avenue beginning today. There will be curb lane closures on and off through Friday for signal upgrades. There will be flaggers and signs to direct traffic.

Looking ahead to Tuesday, there will be resurfacing work on Farr Road between Appleway Blvd. and Sprague Avenue from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. There will be flaggers and signs on site.

Traffic hazards multiplying in Spokane Valley

Flaggers direct traffic on Bowdish Road just south of Sprague in 2011. SR file photo.

The weather is so nice outside, it must be time for road construction. The city of Spokane Valley is expanding the number of roads being worked on this week. The lane restrictions on Appleway Blvd. between Dishman Mica Road and University Road will continue all week for a road resurfacing project. This work means the intersection of Farr Road and Appleway will be closed to northbound and southbound traffic for a while around mid-day Tuesday. Drivers will be asked to detour to Dishman Mica Road.

Sidewalk upgrades are being done on University Road between Fourth and 16th Avenues. There will be occassional curb lane closures all week; flaggers and signs will direct traffic through the work zone. Everyone remember to slow down in the work zones.


Today’s highlights

Girls Scout Cadette Troop 2436 members, from left, Emma Porter, Victoria Harding and Mariah Bechtel ask Argonne Village Yoke’s shopper, Ron Irwin, far right, to buy cookies or donate money to help save Millwood’s wading pool. Irwin bought two boxes of cookies. SR photo/Dan Pelle

It's here. Road construction season is about to begin and in today's Valley Voice there is a map of upcoming projects, plus details on which roads to avoid when. The big three are being impacted this year - Argonne, Sprague and Sullivan.

A local Girl Scout troop is focusing on fundraising efforts to save Millwood's wading pool. Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a story on their efforts. The city wanted to close the pool to save money, but the girls are determined to have the pool repaired instead.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger talked to students from West Valley High School who are entered in a robotics competition. Each team is given bins of parts to build a robot in six weeks that must complete required tasks. Teams from East Valley and Central Valley are also competing.

Coming soon: road construction

A sewer project at Laberry Drive in Greenacres in 2011. SR file photo.

It may have snowed today, but it really is almost road construction season. In fact, Spokane County plans to start ripping up streets next week to finish the Green Haven sewer project. In Thursday's Valley Voice there will be a story on the road construction projects coming up in the Spokane Valley area this summer and a map of all the projects. I have start and end dates for most of them, including a doozie of a project that will rip up Sprague Avenue between Sullivan and Evergreen. Make sure you get a copy of the Voice tomorrow to check it out.

Sprague Ave. open house tonight

Anyone interested in learning more about the Sprague Avenue reconstruction project is invited to attend an open house tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Veradale United Church of Christ, 611 N. Progress Road. The project, scheduled for this summer, will rebuild Sprague between Sullivan Road and Evergreen. It is going to cause problems for motorists, but part of the discussion tonight will probably be on how to mitigate the impact as much as possible. Head over for the meeting if you would like to give input to city staff or get more details.

Sullivan Bridge repairs coming

If you drive over the Sullivan Bridge, take note. A repair project is expected to begin in early January and last through the end of February, according to a Spokane Valley press release. The goal of the project is to reinforce the failing bridge so weight restrictions can be removed while the city tries to come up with enough enough money to replace the bridge. (On that note, the City found out last week that it failed to get a $10 million federal grant to rebuild the bridge.)

During the repairs, traffic will be shifted onto the east bridge that usually carries northbound traffic (only the west bridge is failing). This means that traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Since both northbound and southbound traffic will be using the good bridge, the weight limits will not apply.

Saturday’s highlights

Mike Frucci and his wife Vicki sort through books at the Children's Book Bank at the old University High School. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

Good Monday morning, everyone. I have a few highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice in case you missed them. Reporter Lisa Leinberger wrote a story about a hidden gem, the Children's Book Bank. The bank allows teachers to come and pick out free books for their students. There have been more than 100,000 books distributed since 1997.

The Spokane Valley City Council agreed to accept grants for two road construction projects, the reconstruction of Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan and the completion of Mansfield Ave. east of Pines. The Mayor is interviewing 12 applicants for the two vacant Spokane Valley Planning Commission seats. His recommendation for the appointments is expected at the Dec. 27 council meeting.

Correspondent Valerie Putnam has a report from the Millwood City Council meeting. Finances in the city are apparently not as dire as they first appeared, but the council did approve a 2 percent natural gas utility tax.

A brand new South Perry

Well, almost. The Street Department is putting a new layer of asphalt on South Perry Street - they should be done by tomorrow, but Northbound Perry is closed roughly between 14th Avenue and Ninth Avenue.
All businesses are open - and the blog is at The Perry Street Cafe this morning until 9 or 9:30ish…
Stop by and say hello.

Construction on South Perry

South Perry is down to one lane this week, between Eighth and 12th Avenue. Businesses are of course open and the farmers market is on for Thursday. Just a little reminder to slow down…

Road construction coming

This is just a reminder that the City of Spokane Valley is hosting an open house Thursday night to give the public information on the upcoming Sprague and Sullivan intersection project. The event will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Spokane Valley Mall.

The information presented will include a schedule for the various phases of the project, which will start in late July and last about five weeks. The entire intersection will be replaced with concrete. Sullivan Road will be reduced to one lane in each direction and restrictions on turning onto or from Indiana will change during the project. If you have questions, be sure to stop by.

Part of Vista Road shut down

It appears that Vista Road between Broadway and Cataldo is shut down for utility work. The road is expected to be closed today and possibly tomorrow as well. Traffic will be routed around the construction via Bessie. Just keep in mind that is it constuction season and these short term road closures will be popping up here and there all the time.

New council member to be selected tonight

The Spokane Valley City Council will select a new council member to join them on the dias tonight during the council meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall. The new council member, either IT professional Ben Wick or Positive Change organizer Chuck Hafner, will be immediately sworn in.

There are a few other interesting discussions on tonight's agenda. The council will also vote on whether to allow 60 days for a developer's agreement to be negotiated with St. John Vianney Catholic Church, which is seeking to rezone a piece of property. The issue has become heated at times.

The council will also discuss a proposed drainage project on Broadway and other proposed capital projects - including railroad quiet zones at the Union Pacific crossings on Vista and Park Roads.

Vista Road to close Tuesday at Trent

Here's a tidbit to help you plan your driving routes tomorrow. Vista Road will be closed just south of Trent beginning 7 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, 2011, and will stay closed through Wednesday afternoon. Railroad crossing work in the area will force the shutdown in traffic. Detours will be available via Knox Avenue and Argonne Road, but your best bet is probably to avoid the area.

Arthur Street closed on Thursday

Arthur Street northbound between Third and Second avenues will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, so crews can complete base-paving work.  Motorists will be detoured to Perry Street and should anticipate delays. The closure is part of a City of Spokane 10-Year Street Bond project to rehabilitate Second Avenue from Arthur to Howard streets. The project includes replacing an 8-inch sewer main from Sheridan to Hatch streets and a water main from Howard to Stevens streets. Traffic signals will be upgraded, too.
Second Ave. from Arthur to Division streets remains reduced to one lane. Additionally, the signalized intersections are controlled by stop signs, and all other intersections are closed to traffic. The project is expected to be completed by the end of July.

Source: The city of Spokane's Ann Deasy

Saturday’s highlights

Among construction projects in Spokane Valley, work has started again on the Barker Road sewer project at Laberry Drive in Greenacres. SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

There was a lot to go over in Saturday's Valley Voice and I've got highlights in case you missed a few things. Road construction season has started already in Spokane Valley, with several road and sewer projects coming up. A few are already underway. The largest and most disruptive project planned (other than the addition of new freeway lanes between Sullivan and Barker) is the installation of a concrete intersection at Indiana and Sullivan.

Reporter Lisa Lienberger was in a humanities class at Central Valley High School recently when World War II veteran Del Spear visited to talk about his experiences on a minesweeper. Spokane Valley City Councilman Dean Grafos recently filed paperwork to run for re-election this November. In related news, the Spokane Valley City Council selected five candidates to interview this week for one of the two vacant council positions.

Business owners can get construction-survival tips at Thursday workshop

Spokane city officials are hosting an "“Open For Business: Making the Best of Rough Road Construction” workshop on Thursday, giving small business owners a way to cope with major road disruptions due this summer.

The workshop, 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the City Council Chambers in City Hall, is a partnership between the City and the Greater Spokane Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).  PRSA members are volunteering to help interested businesses. 
The free workshop covers what to expect once construction begins, how to deal with customer communications during construction disruption, and how to use promotions to offset the impact.
The workshop will be recorded for later viewing on City Cable Channel 5.

Ah - the craters are soon gone

The parking lot at Grant Park is getting paved this morning. For those of us with smaller or mid-sized cars that’s extremely good news: no more worries about getting stuck in the giant potholes back there. I’m sure it has to cure for a while, so look for parking somewhere else when you come up for the Perry Street Farmers’ Market this afternoon.

South Perry road construction continues

Let’s put it this way: it’s a wee bit difficult to get to South Perry these days - but all the businesses up here are open, though many of the main access routes are closed.

You can’t go north from the intersection of South Perry and South East Boulevard - Perry is one lane southbound only from around the windmill (12th Avenue) and up the hill.

At the other end of the business district, 9th Avenue is closed (torn up) in front of Grant School and the Park (west of Perry) and by the Hi-Co Station toward Altamont Boulevard (east of Perry).

Drivers can come up the usual ways from downtown, from Sherman and the freeway overpass, and hit the north-end of the business district. Southbound drivers are then detoured around the park and over to Southeast Boulevard. Coming down from 29th Avenue is a little more tricky as you can’t go north on Perry - you’ll be detoured over on Southeast Boulevard, be patient, follow the signs, don’t try to cut across until you hit 11th or 12th Avenues - 12th Avenue will deposit you right in the middle of the business district, north of the main construction zone.

Confused? Hopefully not - and please feel free to share your favorite short cuts. Construction is due to water main line repairs - and yes, some new pavement will be a pleasant side effect of all the digging.

Road construction update

This just in from the city of Spokane: “Hartson and 11th Avenue from Havana Street to Sherman street water transmission main repair began on Monday July 27. The project will install a 48- and 36- inch water transmission main in Hartson and 11th Avenues from Havana to Sherman streets. The project will also repair the following streets: 11th Avenue from Altamont Boulevard to
Julia Street and North Altamont Boulevard from 11th to Ninth avenues;and Ninth Avenue from Perry to Julia Street.
Ninth Avenue will be closed to motorists beginning at Hatch Road and moving east toward Perry Street as the project progresses.
This $3.2 million project is funded by the City of Spokane Water Department and the 10-Year Street Bond.”

Sorry, folks, It does not include complete repaving of South Perry Street from the business district and up to Southeast Boulevard, though some repair will take place.

Here’s how to get to Valley businesses

A major road construction project in Spokane Valley will shut down the busy intersection of Sprague Avenue and Sullivan Road for what’s expected to be three weeks, beginning July 19.

Traffic will be re-routed on Broadway, Conklin, Fourth and Adams.

It’ll be more difficult to get to businesses in the construction zone, but they will be open. If you want to get to the Walgreens on the southeast corner, for example, you’ll have to approach by Sullivan from the south or Sprague from the east. You won’t be able to cross the intersection. Just keep that in mind and you’ll be fine.

Running I-90 Road Work Gauntlet

As you readers know, I drove through the road construction on Interstate 90, beginning at Spokane Street, within minutes after it started last week (about 8:30 last Tuesday morning). And then drove through the area the next day (around 9). I didn’t have any trouble with delays, other than the 45 mph speed limit imposed for the next 5 miles. However, I’ve heard that a lot of motorists are getting caught in bottlenecks through the construction zone. How about you?

  • DFO: I’m re-posting this at the top of the thread to hear your horror stories. Already have a coupla good ones in the thread.

Question: What has been your experience traveling through the I-90 construction zone, from Spokane Street to the stateline?

CdA To Change 15th For Bicyclers

Item: Life in the bike lane: City of Coeur d’Alene considers major changes on 15th Street/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Re-centering, re-striping, adding bike lanes and a traffic signal, and doing away with parking. The city of Coeur d’Alene is considering some major changes on 15th Street from Sherman Avenue to Interstate 90, including adding bicycle lanes to both sides of the street on the popular riding route. To put in the lanes, the city would re-center and re-stripe the median, which hugs closer to the west side of the street than the east on portions of the road. The change would include taking away all parking on the east side of the street in that stretch.

Question: What else would you like to see Coeur d’Alene and other Kootenai County cities do to make them more bike friendly?

Guv: ‘Turning parking lot into a real highway again’

Gov. Butch Otter celebrated today at a ceremony marking the completion of a project to widen the most-traveled section of I-84 in Idaho, between Meridian and Garrity Road. “Finally we’re turning this twice-a-day, six-and-a-half-mile-long parking lot into a real highway again,” Otter said. “Now it’s going to be the kind of route that families and businesses won’t go out of their way to avoid; it will be the kind of highway that attracts businesses, career-path jobs and economic opportunities.” The project added a third lane in each direction to the 6.5 mile stretch of interstate. It was funded by GARVEE bonds, which stands for Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles. The special type of bonds, created by Congress, allows states to borrow against their future federal highway allocations.

“Our communities are only as strong as our ability to bring people, products and ideas together, through technology and infrastructure,” Otter said. “Completing this stretch of interstate shows our commitment to that goal.” One mile of the new third lane will remain closed under the Ten Mile Overpass until next spring to allow for construction of a new interchange there. In addition to the third lane in each direction, the $113 million project also prepared the highway for a fourth lane that will open in 2011.