Lincoln Street between Spokane Falls Boulevard and Main Avenue has been closed temporarily while the city readies it for a two-year detour route next to the Downtown Library.
Work is expected to start in April on a new stormwater collection tank on the north side of Spokane Falls Boulevard near the library and to the west of City Hall and River Park Square.
That project will force closure of Spokane Falls Boulevard at Lincoln for almost two years, said Marlene Feist, city spokeswoman.
The $20 million job will create a 2.2-million gallon stormwater collection tank to prevent spills of a combination of raw sewage and stormwater during major storms and runoff events.
The tank will be topped with a new plaza overlooking the lower Spokane Falls. Construction is expected to be finished in early 2019.
To get traffic through the area, the city is reversing the direction of travel on Lincoln between Main Avenue and Spokane Falls.
Instead of being a one-way northbound street as it had been, Lincoln will be reversed into a two-lane southbound street.
At Main Avenue, the left hand lane will be forced to turn left and go east on Main. The right-hand lane will turn right and go west on Main heading toward Monroe Street.
The pedestrian crosswalk on the west side of the Main-Lincoln intersection will be closed for safety reasons, Feist said.
Access to River Park Square’s garage beneath the Nordstrom store will remain open to northbound vehicles on Lincoln at Main.
Vehicles leaving RPS or the vicinity of City Hall will have to use the link of Lincoln from Spokane Falls to Main to exit out of the area.
Spokane Transit Authority has closed the stop at Lincoln and Spokane Falls and rerouted its buses during the project.
The stop closure is affecting six routes, including the No. 20 to Spokane Falls Community College; the No. 21 to West Broadway Avenue; the No. 22 to Northwest Boulevard; the No. 23 to Maple and Ash streets; the No. 24 on North Monroe and the No. 124 North Express bus.
Passengers must board those buses at the Plaza downtown or at the north end of the Monroe Street Bridge.
Currently, contractors are working in Lincoln to move utility lines, which forced this week’s closure. The closure is expected to last for three weeks, Feist said.
Eleven stormwater projects, at a total cost of $83 million, are starting construction throughout Spokane in 2017, including a tank installation at Sprague Avenue and Adams Street.
Currently, the city sewer system allows combined stormwater and sewage to be discharged directly into the river without any treatment during major runoff events, including thunderstorms and snow melts.
Heavy runoff would otherwise flood the sewage treatment plant next to Riverside State Park.
The new tanks will collect the combined sewage and stormwater and then slowly send it to the treatment plant after a major runoff subsides.
The new tanks will protect the health of the Spokane River under the federal clean water law.