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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There: Ben Stuckart wants answers on downtown Spokane roadwork

Road construction is underway at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Spokane on Aug. 1, 2016. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Road construction is underway at the corner of Riverside Avenue and Monroe Street in downtown Spokane on Aug. 1, 2016. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane City Council President Ben Stuckart wants to hear from public works officials how they could speed up progress on major construction projects downtown.

He has asked the officials to appear Monday at a public works committee session at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will take place in the Council Briefing Center on the lower level of City Hall and is open to the public.

Stuckart said that a week later, he expects a report from the Condon administration during the council’s regular meeting at 6 p.m., which is televised live on CityCable channel 5.

“We need to get a clear understanding of what the deadlines are for these projects,” he said.

One possibility is for the council to authorize extra money so crews can work extended hours, he said.

That idea came up during the hot weather this summer, but was discouraged because of the toll long hours would have taken on workers.

Public works staff last week said the next two workweeks will be pivotal as to whether the Monroe/Lincoln street construction project downtown can be finished this season.

Torn-up streets and sidewalks have been hurting local businesses that rely on customers coming to the downtown area.

Drivers face four-way stops and pedestrians uneven gravel crossings.

Stuckart said he has been hearing from numerous business owners about the problems caused by construction, and not just on Lincoln and Monroe, but also on Main Avenue at Division Street and on Wall Street between Main and Spokane Falls Boulevard.

On Lincoln and Monroe, construction crews are moving into new phases of that intricate project, which has involved rebuilding the web of utilities and historic vaults beneath the streets between Main and Second avenues.

Curb and concrete work are about to begin along with initial paving, which is to start Saturday on the east side of Monroe, to be followed by another paving session a week later.

Sprague Avenue will be closed between Lincoln and Monroe from Wednesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day.

Julie Happy, city spokeswoman, said substantial progress is needed now in order to get all of the work done before cold weather sets in and ends the paving season this fall.

“If the next two weeks go as we plan, we should finish,” Happy said.

“We are hopeful. Of course weather plays into it.”

Normally, paving can continue through early November, but fall rains will also shut down paving on any given day and a severe cold snap might stop it altogether.

Crews in the past few weeks have been hustling to get utilities such as storm sewers and water lines installed.

Avista closed Monroe on Friday night to lay natural gas lines.

Here is a look at the current work on the Lincoln/Monroe job downtown:

  • Crews are installing storm drain piping, catch basins and sewer lines along the east side of Monroe.
  • Curbs are being formed and poured on the east side of Monroe from Sprague to Riverside.
  • Subcontractor Power City Electric is working on streetlights and conduit.
  • Avista Corp. has a vault replacement on Lincoln between Riverside and Main.
  • Work hours have changed to 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Main Street work

Elsewhere in the downtown area, a restriping project on Main Avenue from Bernard to Pine streets starts Monday following work to upgrade the sidewalks with curb extensions at Division and Main.

Fourth Avenue update

In the other big project on Monroe and Lincoln from Fourth to Eighth avenues, traffic is now able to use Fourth Avenue eastbound from Jefferson Street. The traffic light at Fourth and Monroe is operating.

Fifth Avenue is open with occasional closures.

Lincoln Street is closed through Sept. 23.

Hamilton Street closure

Work on Indiana Avenue from Dakota to Perry streets will force closure of Hamilton Street at Indiana from 7 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Sept. 19.

Motorists will be forced to detour.

Aircraft over South Hill

The main runway at Spokane International Airport is going to close during late evening and overnight hours this week and next week.

The closure will force air traffic onto the secondary runway, also known as the cross-wind runway.

Work will be from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Friday and again from Sunday through Sept. 23.

The reason for the main runway closure is cleaning and aligning 755 runway lights, which need to be bright and easily visible for navigation during fog and other inclement weather, said Todd Woodard, airport spokesman.

The runway is 11,002 feet long and 150 feet wide.

Using the secondary runway will put aircraft over the South Hill at about 40th Avenue. Aircraft will be either landing or taking off depending on the direction of the wind.

Delays on Argonne

Work on Argonne Road north of the Spokane River continues to cause major traffic slowdowns, in part because there are no easy detours.

Traffic is down to a single lane in each direction during the full-scale street rehabilitation, installation of curb ramps and stormwater improvements.

The $1.2 million project runs from Maringo Drive on the north side of the river to Wellesley Avenue.

Inland Asphalt Co., of Spokane, is the contractor.

Land-use plan update

An update of Spokane’s comprehensive land-use plan will involve transportation options among other issues.

A series of four open houses is planned starting Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Downtown Library.

The subsequent sessions will be from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 20 at Southside Christian Church, 2934 E. 27th Ave.; Sept. 22 at the Northeast Community Center, 4001 N. Cook St.; and Sept. 29, West Central Community Center, 1603 N. Belt St.

In addition to transportation, the new “Shaping Spokane” plan will help define neighborhoods, land use, open space, historical assets and walking opportunities.

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