The city of Spokane’s construction season this year will include approximately $80 million in new projects through a mix of local, state and federal funds.
That amount does not include another $21 million for work this year that’s been carried over from last year’s season, city officials announced Thursday.
“We know this time of year does cause significant short-term disruptions. We want to be very cognizant of that,” Mayor Nadine Woodward said Thursday. “Regularly maintaining city streets improves safety. It keeps our traffic moving smoothly.”
One of the more visible projects will take place along West Riverside Avenue, from North Monroe Street to North Division Street. Crews will reconfigure the roadway to add new bike lanes and bus stops for the incoming City Line, the 6-mile transit route between Browne’s Addition and Spokane Community College set to open in July 2023.
This year’s list also includes replacing asphalt along sections of Thor and Freya streets with concrete to better withstand heavy traffic loads.
Here is a breakdown of several projects included in this year’s plans:
West Riverside Avenue
• Location: Street resurfacing from North Division Street to North Wall Street; street restriping from North Wall Street to North Monroe Street.
• Construction estimate: $4 million.
• Projected timeline: Construction to start in mid-May; completion expected by this fall.
The Riverside project has been in the works for a couple years as agencies including the city, the Spokane Transit Authority and the city’s Bicycle Advisory Board have discussed how this might work, said Kirstin Davis, a spokesperson for Spokane Public Works .
Part of West Riverside Avenue will be renovated to make way for a lane reduction, dedicated bike lanes and amenities to accommodate new bus stops for the incoming City Line.
With the new bus service in mind, the number of lanes along West Riverside Avenue – from North Division Street to North Monroe Street – will be reduced from two to one in each direction. Asphalt replacement – otherwise known as grind and overlay work – will take place from North Division to North Wall streets, while workers will restripe traffic lanes from North Wall to North Monroe streets.
Crews will also install sidewalk curb ramps and storm inlets as needed.
“Anytime we do something like this, we’re always going to look at what’s underneath the surface because if we’re going to tear it up, we want to look at the water main and service replacements that might be needed,” Davis said. “It’s like if you are having some kind of surgery, let’s look at something else while we’re in there rather than doing it twice.”
Thor-Freya corridor reconstruction
• Location: Thor and Freya streets, from Sprague Avenue to Hartson Avenue.
• Construction estimate: $8.9 million.
• Projected timeline: Phases 1-3 along Thor will continue into early June; Phases 4-5 on Freya will follow into late July; completion of Phases 6 (Hartson Avenue) and 7 (Freya, from 5th Avenue to Hartson) is expected by the fall.
The reconstruction of the Thor-Freya corridor will see the asphalt along these roadways replaced by concrete.
“This area experiences extremely high volumes of freight and vehicular traffic, requiring that more durable surface,” Kyle Twohig, the city’s director of engineering services, said Thursday. “The success we’ve seen from the concrete intersection at Hamilton and North Foothills led to the engineering of the Thor-Freya corridor with a more durable material.”
The project will also involve the replacement of curb and stormwater facilities, water/sewer replacements and ramp upgrades in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Crews are taking a phased approach to the reconstruction, starting with part of Thor Street. Depending on whether work is taking place along Thor or Freya, the other roadway will temporarily turn into a two-way street to accommodate detoured traffic.
Twohig has said all but approximately $1 million of the project costs will be covered by state and federal funding.
Hatch Road Bridge
• Location: The bridge at Hatch Road and U.S. Highway 195.
• Construction estimate: $1.9 million (federally funded).
• Projected timeline: Ongoing through the end of July.
Crews will replace the Hatch Road Bridge deck and add a right-hand turn lane from Hatch onto U.S. 195, making for shorter wait times for people who are not turning left, Twohig said.
As it is, the bridge is “shifting” due to high volumes of traffic and local freight service, Twohig said.
“This is a significant inconvenience for those who do use this to connect to South Spokane,” he said, “but it will be well worth the challenges.”
North River Drive sidewalk
• Location: North River Drive, from east of North Washington Street to North Division Street.
• Estimated cost: $1 million.
• Projected timeline: Started March 14; ongoing through mid-April.
This locally funded project involves grind and overlay work, stormwater improvements and, on the south side of the street, sidewalk installation, according to the city.
Twohig said the sidewalk will increase access to Riverfront Park and other area amenities, including the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, the Podium and the incoming downtown outdoor stadium.
Cochran Basin stormwater projects
The Cochran Basin, the city’s largest stormwater basin, sends between 350 million to 500 million gallons of stormwater per year to the Spokane River, Twohig said.
A series of projects are planned this year to better manage the stormwater from the Cochran Basin, all while rebuilding T.J. Meenach Drive, from the bridge over the Spokane River to Northwest Boulevard.
• Construction of treatment and infiltration ponds at the Downriver Disc Golf Course, estimated to cost $2.5 million in state and local funds.
• Installation of a pipe to connect stormwater piping from around the T.J. Meenach Drive-Northwest Boulevard intersection to the Downriver Golf Course, estimated to cost $3 million and funded with state and local money.
• Construction of a stormwater flow control vault at the southeast corner of the T.J. Meenach-Northwest Boulevard intersection, estimated to cost $4 million.
At least some of the Cochran Basin work is carrying over from last year.
Airport water reservoir
• Construction estimate: $13.3 million.
• Projected timeline: Starting sometime this spring through fall 2024.
The project synopsis calls for the construction of a new 3.6 million-gallon elevated composite water tank. The project will be funded through state and local funds.
No details were provided about the reservoir during Thursday’s news conference, while little information was immediately available afterward. Davis said Friday the water reservoir is to meet the water needs of the West Plains.
Carryover projects from last year’s construction season include the replacement of the 104-year-old Post Street Bridge and the completion of the South Gorge Trail project, from Redband Park to the Sandifur Bridge.
With the Post Street bridge, Twohig said crews have removed the old bridge deck and reinforced the arches. Twohig said work this year will focus on tucking a 60-inch replacement sewer pipe into the bridge structure.
Work to watch for
In addition to the above projects underway, the city has begun work on street curb ramps in two locations in the Bemiss neighborhood, along Perry Street near Illinois Avenue and Empire Avenue close to Longfellow Elementary School. The $690,000 project is being funded with local dollars in areas where crews are doing grind and overlay work.
The southbound lane of Wall Street at Main Avenue will be closed with flagging Monday through Wednesday for Quest work.
Mission Avenue between Hamilton and Perry streets, near Mission Park, will see periodic lane closures this month for Cameron-Reilly work.
The Grace and Chronicle roads intersection east of Minnehaha Park will be fully closed beginning Monday for a development project.