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Monday, March 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Portion of South Hill bluff trails to be closed during Avista powerline reconstruction

Portions of Spokane’s South Hill bluff trails will be temporarily closed this month as well as this fall during two Avista projects related to rebuilding the 70-year-old transmission line that runs through 2.75 miles of the city-owned parkland between Hangman Creek and High Drive.

Hazardous trees along the power line corridor will be removed July 24-26. Signs will be posted on trails near the work area to alert users to the temporary closure, Avista officials say.

Each hazard tree identified for removal is marked with a blue X on the base. Some are marked WL which indicates the tree will be topped to create a snag for wildlife.

Reconstruction of the transmission line is scheduled to start in September and run through November. The project involves replacing cedar poles with steel and upgrading the line from 78- to 350-megawatt maximum capacity.

An open house meeting to provide details on the projects is set for 6.-7 p.m. on Monday at St. Stephens Episcopal Church, 5720 S. Perry St.

No new access roads will be created, but Avista officials say minimal improvements are needed to reach structures by foot or ATV from existing access roads at the Sunset substation and one north of the Highland Park neighborhood.

A helicopter will be used to remove existing poles and place new ones into hand-dug holes, Avista officials say. Utility Task Vehicles will be used by crews in the area that is otherwise off-limits to motorized recreation.

The construction area will be restored to its pre-work condition, Avista officials say.

Meanwhile, the reconstruction of the illegal road bulldozed in April through the South Hill bluff parkland was completed in June. Volunteers from the Friends of the Bluff, Avista and the Spokane Parks and Recreation Department are watering hundreds of plants to help get them through the summer.

Avista staff monitors the restored area weekly and will replace the trees and shrubs that do not survive this fall, the company said in a project update.

Avista, Spokane Parks and First Tee have taken joint responsibility for allowing the road to be built without proper permits and authorization. The road would have serviced building the proposed First Tee par-three golf course near Qualchan golf course as well as work on the transmission line.

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