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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Getting There: Downtown Spokane street project generating complaints, concerns

Work along Monroe and Lincoln streets in the downtown area has been a trying time for business and property owners.

Streets are torn up; water lines are shut down; sidewalks are blocked; and parking is limited during construction.

This is occurring at the height of the busy summer season for restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues.

“It’s our busy season,” said Anny Gold, the manager of Hotel Ruby and the Montvale Hotel.

Gold said she is hearing complaints about the confusion created by construction.

“This is the surprise summer gift,” she said.

As if the dust, noise and lack of on-street parking weren’t enough, a rainstorm last week caused a storm sewer backup that flooded the intersection of First Avenue and Lincoln Street, where the Ruby is located.

Crews were dispatched during the early-morning hours to reopen the storm drain, which was blocked from construction sediment.

That resulted in at least one noise complaint.

Julie Happy, spokeswoman for the city, said some business owners want the workers to do double shifts to get the project done sooner.

For now, the crews will work single shifts, although a few overnight jobs will be needed to lay new water pipes.

She said the city is reluctant to ask for double shifts since that involves overtime and a risk of overworking skilled tradesmen during the heat of summer. The City Council would have to approve the increased costs, Happy said.

The job has been especially complex because of the web of utilities crisscrossing city streets, alleys and sidewalks. Crews also have discovered old underground brick vaults that once held utilities, further complicating the work.

“When you are working downtown you never know what you are going to find down there, or what shape it is in,” Happy said.

The work will continue well into October.

On Thursday, nearly two dozen workers and city inspectors met with businesspeople and each other to go over a list of issues. The meetings are held weekly.

Several big concerts are planned this month, and venue managers wanted to make sure the tour buses would have room to park and unload.

Construction managers told them they would make room and asked for a schedule.

Another big problem has been keeping water turned on as pipes and valves are shut down for replacement.

Small hoses have been used for temporary water service during shutdowns. The lines are an obstacle for pedestrians but a necessary evil, officials said.

Intersections that were changed to four-way stops during the work are creating some backups, but traffic has moved steadily through the construction areas for the most part.

So far, no one has been hurt, even though workers are maneuvering in relatively tight quarters with heavy equipment.

One business owner at last week’s construction meeting complimented the skills of the operators.

To the south, Monroe Street from Fourth to Eighth avenues has reopened to a single lane of southbound traffic on new concrete pavement. Lincoln Street from Fourth to Eighth will be closed for about six weeks for a similar reconstruction.

Expect delays

along U.S. 395

Drivers on U.S. Highway 395 can expect delays at several intersections in Deer Park, Loon Lake and south of Chewelah on Monday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

During the work, a contractor will close one lane of the highway and traffic will be guided by pilot cars in single alternating lines.

The work involves new sign installations.

Chip-sealing work on area highways

Chip-sealing projects on several state highways and on Interstate 90 west of Spokane will result in lane closures this week.

The outside lanes on I-90 may be closed for the work to fill studded tire ruts from Ritzville to state Highway 21.

The speed limit is 35 mph when loose chips are on the roadway.

Elsewhere, a chip-sealing job on U.S. Highway 2 from Davenport to Espanola Road will result in a lane closure, requiring a pilot car to guide alternating single lines of traffic.

Another chip-seal project will be located on U.S. 2 from state Highway 211 to South Shore Road. Pilot cars will guide traffic in alternating lines.

In the Pullman area, a chip-sealing project on state Highway 270 from Pullman to Moscow will force traffic into alternating single lines guided by pilot cars Monday through Thursday.

Bridge repairs will close lanes on I-90

Also on I-90, traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction for deck repairs on overpass bridges at two locations. One is at the southwest end of Sprague Lake over the BNSF Railway tracks. The other is west of Ritzville at Wahl Road.

Off-ramp project causing restrictions

In Spokane, construction of a new westbound off-ramp for I-90 at Freya Street is causing some closures and lane restrictions.

Other projects with traffic restrictions

  • In Spokane Valley, 32nd Avenue is closed from Dishman-Mica to University roads. It is also reduced to a single lane in each direction from University to Pines roads.
  • Flora Road from Mission to Boone avenues will have lane restrictions and closures starting on Aug. 8. The road will close to all but local traffic starting on Aug. 10 through Aug. 26 for utility and other work.
  • McDonald Road from Sprague to 16th avenues will be closed to all but local traffic through Sept. 2 for resurfacing and other improvements.
  • Mission Avenue between Lilly and Park roads has a pending project with a closure soon to be announced. The same goes for Park Road from Nora to Mission avenues.
  • The intersection of Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway will have traffic restrictions.
  • In the city of Spokane, residential street repaving is taking place on Garfield, Madison, Lee, Crestline, Cannon and Arthur streets.
  • Work on 37th Avenue has forced a closure from Freya to Custer streets.
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