It’s all too easy for construction projects to run into challenges, and that has certainly been the case in Liberty Lake this summer. Material shortages have waylaid the new freeway overpass, hot weather prevented the use of the golf course parking lot and the reconstruction of Kramer Parkway has struggled.
Kramer Parkway was closed between Sprague Avenue and Country Vista Drive several weeks ago so the road could be partially reconstructed.
“We did run into some problems with unsuitable materials and then we had some issues with the water line,” said Lisa Key, director of planning and engineering.
The road was in poor condition and there were also issues with water under the roadway, Key said.
“If we had not done this partial reconstruction this year, we would have had to completely rebuild the roadway,” she said. “This was a time-sensitive project.”
Having the road completely closed impacted some nearby residents and the city attempted to accommodate them by setting up a detour on property owned by the Central Valley School District. There’s a gated, private emergency access road that runs from Kramer Parkway to North Henry Lane, a north-south access road on school district property. The access road is only 20 feet wide and isn’t meant to support a lot of traffic, Key said.
The road was posted with speed and weight limits and was not supposed to be used by construction vehicles.
“Apparently, no one was following either of those,” Key said. “It’s not a roadway. It’s not designed for that heavy construction equipment. We had staff members who were flagging and directing construction traffic to avoid that and they ignored the staff member and went through anyway.”
Summer school classes were also being held at Ridgeline High School and there was a close call with a pedestrian, Key said. The detour route was shut down due to safety concerns.
Kramer Parkway is expected to be completed in early September. Part of it has already been paved and additional paving days are scheduled for Tuesday and Sept. 2.
“We should be opening by the time school opens,” Key said.
The long-anticipated Kramer bridge over Interstate 90, however, has been stalled for much of the summer. The project includes the extension of Kramer Parkway north of Country Vista Drive over the freeway to connect with Mission Avenue. When complete, it will add a key north-south route over the freeway.
“It will reduce the pressure on Barker Road and Harvard Road,” Key said.
The arrival of the mechanically stabilized earth retaining walls didn’t happen in February as planned.
“They’re almost Lego-looking walls that you put the earth and fill behind to build up the ramps,” she said. “They were delayed and delayed and delayed. Then we got parts and pieces and they weren’t even in the right order.”
The overpass ramps have to be built before the bridge girders can be put into place, which effectively stalled the whole project. The MSE panels have just arrived, however, and work is now moving forward.
“They’re working diligently and the walls are going up,” she said.
On the north end of the project, a new roundabout was just completed at Mission Avenue where the extension of Kramer Parkway will connect. Mission Avenue is still closed as Greenstone Home completes an upgrade in the same area, making it wider and adding a sidewalk on the south side of the road and a multiuse path on the north side. The road is expected to open the first week of September, Key said.
The Kramer Road extension and overpass, originally scheduled to be complete this fall, is now estimated to be complete in the spring .
A recent heat wave also slowed improvements at the city-owned Trailhead Golf Course. The city is in the first phase of an expansion and reconstruction project, which includes redoing the parking lot and making it larger. The city planned to shut down the parking lot for one day, Aug. 1, for paving. The high temperatures meant that it didn’t get cool enough overnight for the asphalt to cure and the parking lot couldn’t be reopened, forcing golfers to park elsewhere and walk to the course. As of Tuesday, the parking lot was still closed with reopening tentatively scheduled for Friday
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