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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Getting There: Monroe-Lincoln paving starts at 7 p.m. Monday

Dwight Newberg, of Inland Asphalt, guides a roller over newly-laid asphalt on Riverside Avenue near Monroe Street, Oct. 19, 2016, in downtown Spokane, Wash. After two summers of disruption, the repaving project is slated for completion Monday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Dwight Newberg, of Inland Asphalt, guides a roller over newly-laid asphalt on Riverside Avenue near Monroe Street, Oct. 19, 2016, in downtown Spokane, Wash. After two summers of disruption, the repaving project is slated for completion Monday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

The final paving on Monroe and Lincoln streets downtown starts at 7 p.m. Monday, ending two summers of disruption to rebuild both streets from below ground up.

The project to upgrade the pavement, curbs, sidewalks and utilities started in the spring of 2016 but could not be completed by the time cold weather arrived last November.

Now, the end is in sight for the $3.12 million job.

Merchants in the west part of downtown will be relieved that traffic flow will be restored, at least in the area of the Monroe-Lincoln project from Main to Second avenues.

Restriping of the pavement has already started on the west side of each street. The pavement got its final layer a few weeks ago.

The job includes new “pop-out” curbs, better street lighting and upgraded utilities.

Energy conservation upgrade pays off

Spokane Transit Authority last week got a $273,000 energy rebate check from Avista Utilities for conservation upgrades throughout STA’s operations.

STA officials said the upgrades will save the agency $136,000 a year on electricity and natural gas.

Starting in 2013, STA partnered with the state Commerce Department, McKinstry and Avista to create a comprehensive energy savings strategy.

STA received a $547,000 grant from the Commerce Department to help pay for the project.

McKinstry is a national leader in designing, constructing and managing high-performance buildings. The company audited STA facilities and found ways to conserve.

STA replaced its old heating and air conditioning system, installed thermal pane windows, converted to LED lighting and centralized a digital control system to automatically regulate heating and cooling.

“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of this multi-agency partnership, STA’s goal of creating cost-saving, energy-efficient infrastructure was not only achieved, but exceeded,” said STA’s Susan Meyer, the CEO, in a news release.

State highways and byways

Out on state highways, a long-sought project to improve the highway to Pullman with more passing lanes starts Monday.

Two of six new passing lanes are being built in the vicinity of Steptoe on U.S. Highway 195.

Flaggers are going to be posted at times to direct single lines of traffic in both directions. Work hours are from 6 a.m to 6 p.m.

A second phase of the project will occur in 2018 with four more passing lanes closer to Rosalia, state transportation officials said.

Funding came from a Connecting Washington tax and spending package approved in 2015.

The goal is to increase safety on a stretch of highway long considered to be dangerous.

Along I-90

Elsewhere, repaving is underway on Interstate 90 from Fishtrap to Sprague Lake with lane reductions in spots where work is underway.

Crews are going to work on weekends to speed up the project.

Also on I-90, backups are occurring at times west of Snoqualmie Pass during a major repaving job from the top of the pass to North Bend.

Construction is also occurring east of the pass for widening the freeway to six lanes. Slowdowns and blasting closures are possible.

At Liberty Lake, a road restoration project has been causing I-90 backups at the eastbound Liberty Lake interchange.

Construction on Division

In Spokane, two construction projects on Division Street are holding up traffic.

One involves new curbs and sidewalks in the downtown area on both Division and Browne streets.

The other is taking place on Division from Francis to the “Y” where new sidewalks, curbs and paving are underway.

Expect daytime lane restrictions northbound from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and southbound from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nighttime lane restrictions are occurring from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. in all directions.

Grinding and repaving

A major repaving and repair project has started on Trent Avenue from Mission Avenue to Sullivan Road.

Currently, work is concentrating on bridge repairs just east of Argonne Road and just east of Pines Road.

Grinding and repaving for the full stretch starts Aug. 7.

Holdups at Suncrest

Suncrest is also seeing traffic holdups for a pavement sealing project on state Highway 291 between Suncrest and state Highway 231.

Work continues on state Highway 904 through Cheney from Betz to Mullenix roads.

Elsewhere in the city

In Spokane, the first half of the East Sprague revitalization project has been finished from Napa to Altamont streets. The street has reopened.

Work is being wrapped up on the segment from Helena to Napa streets.

Elsewhere in the city, drivers on Monroe Street north of the Spokane River are going to encounter a major closure starting Tuesday.

Work to install a huge sewer retention tank north of Veterans Court will cause closure of Monroe between Summit Parkway and College Avenue on Tuesday for two weeks.

Crews are making pipe connections.

Summit Parkway from Lincoln to Monroe streets will be open.

Farther north, Strong Road is closed from Rustle Road to Phoebe Street for paving, curbs, sidewalks and a new water main.

Phase three of installing a downtown bicycle network is underway on Sprague and Riverside avenues from Bernard to Maple streets and on First Avenue from Bernard to Walnut streets.

Senate budget bill to impact airports

The U.S. Senate appropriations committee passed a budget bill last week that would not privatize air traffic control but would continue contracted weather observers and raise the passenger facility charge from $4.50 to $8.50.

All of those are significant issues at Spokane International Airport. Officials at the airport have come out against privatization and ending contracted weather observers.

The passenger facility charge is levied against departing passengers and collected as part of airfare.

Additional funds would be raised and become available for airport improvements, including a plan to upgrade the terminal.

And Amtrak would be fully funded with its subsidy of $1.2 billion, preserving the Empire Builder and Coast Starlight under the Senate bill.

President Donald Trump’s administration proposed cutting long-distance Amtrak routes earlier this year.

The measure is still in dispute with the House, largely over a plan to privatize air traffic control, officials said.

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