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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Snail mail: Hatch Road Bridge work causing delivery delays

Heavy machines continue to demolish parts of the Hatch Road bridge over Latah Creek south of Spokane, which is a key connector between U.S 195, at right, and the South Hill area of Spokane. The four-month closure to rebuild the bridge is proving to be a headache for South Hill residents. The closure is delaying mail delivery to some homes in the area, shown Wednesday.  (Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)

Construction on the Hatch Road Bridge over Latah Creek was always going to cause headaches.

Hatch Road connects 57th Avenue on the South Hill to U.S. Route 195, 450 feet below. Shutting down the bridge for construction forces area residents to take a long detour to get on the highway.

Hangman Valley resident Lori Burns knew she’d have to deal with the detour from now through July while construction crews replace the bridge deck. She says she’s OK with it because the $2 million project is needed and the near-term inconvenience is worth the long-term bridge improvements.

But she’s not OK with the mail delays.

Two weeks ago, just a few days before construction began, Burns and other Hangman Valley residents got a letter from the U.S. Postal Service. The bridge construction was going to slow down mail carriers too much, so for the next four months people would have to pick up their mail at the Post Office.

That might not sound like a big deal, Burns said, but it is.

People living at about 30-40 addresses would have to travel to the Sunset Hill Post Office, near the Spokane International Airport. Burns said that’s a 40-minute drive round trip.

After a few days of not delivering mail, Burns said the Postal Service changed its plans.

Now, the 30-40 homes will get their mail every other day, spokesman Ernie Swanson said.

“We realize people are entitled to mail service, so we did what we had to,” Swanson said.

If people want their mail immediately, they’ll still have to drive to Sunset Hill.

“It’s unfortunate, but we’re trying to do the best we can,” Swanson said. “Delivering the mail three days a week was better than no days a week, so that’s the direction we’re going.”

Swanson said he didn’t know why Hangman Valley residents can’t get their mail at one of the Post Offices nearer to the area.

Burns said she’s still frustrated by what she describes as poor customer service on the Postal Service’s part.

The city of Spokane gave residents six weeks warning before construction started, she said. The Postal Service’s notice arrived just a few days before.

And other delivery companies don’t seem to be having any issues.

“FedEx figured it out,” Burns said.