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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Legislators drop amendment blocking state funding for Barker Road project roundabout

Spokane Valley City Council came to an agreement with legislators to remove language in the Washington transportation budget that would have prevented the city from receiving state grant funds for the Barker Road grade separation project.

City Council at a special meeting Friday announced that legislators had agreed to remove the amendment if the city would allow additional public comment and involvement with choosing the design for the Trent Avenue and Barker Road intersection.

Rep. Shea, R-Spokane Valley, added an amendment to the budget on Feb. 27 that specifies state money could not be spent for planning or constructing a roundabout on Trent Avenue as part of the project to build an overpass at Barker Road and the BNSF railroad tracks.

Shea said he added the amendment after safety concerns from residents were brought forward about placing a two-lane roundabout on a four-lane highway.

The amendment caused concern among council members because the proposed $19 million project, which included a roundabout design, would likely not be completed without state grant funds.

City Council voted down a previously proposed $36 million diamond interchange design in 2017 because of difficulty securing grant funds as well as lack of support from Spokane County and WSDOT. If the city were to choose the diamond interchange concept at Barker Road, it would now cost more than $41 million.

Shea said in a Facebook video post Thursday evening that legislators have been in discussion with Spokane Valley city officials for months on how to address the issue of the intersection at Barker Road and Trent Avenue. Shea also said he discussed with WSDOT and Spokane Valley City Council to implement a process to extend public outreach on the design.

City officials didn’t specify if they were moving forward with the roundabout in the Barker Road grade separation design, but they plan to discuss project design alternatives in depth at a March 13 council meeting with public comment.

Councilman Arne Woodard said council has worked cooperatively with fourth district legislators on the issue and appreciates the ongoing dialogue to move the project forward.

“I look forward to the ongoing cooperation, the ongoing partnership that we’ve had – and hope to continue to have – and hopefully this project will break ground,” he said.

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