As a senior engineer and project manager with the city of Spokane Valley, Craig Aldworth doesn’t include “door-to-door sales” in his job description.
Even so, when a capital improvement project is added to the municipal docket, Aldworth can be found pounding the pavement, talking to residents and business owners about the repercussions of the latest street overhaul. Earlier this month, Aldworth made the rounds along the Sullivan corridor, delivering news about a series of upgrades that will begin this spring.
Last week Aldworth joined Steve Worley, another Spokane Valley senior engineer, at a city-sponsored open house intended to shed light on the renovation of Sullivan. According to Spokane Valley spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch, the Jan. 21 event was part of a continuing approach by the city “to get information to people in the best way we can.” Some 4,400 informational mailers were sent out to homes and businesses in the area that will be affected by the construction.
The first phase of the street facelift will involve resurfacing the intersection at Sullivan and Broadway, a $1.2 million project that is scheduled to begin April 1 and run for five weeks. The work, funded through a grant from the Spokane Transit Authority, will involve replacing the existing asphalt with sturdier concrete along a busy section of Sullivan near retail hubs like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s and Lowe’s.
At the open house, Aldworth described how Broadway would remain closed between Sullivan and Sommer Road for the duration of the project. For two weeks, motorists will not be able to turn right onto Broadway from Sullivan heading northbound.
Assuming the Broadway/Sullivan work wraps up by the third week of May – not a guarantee according to Aldworth because of the traditional rainy season – the reconstruction of the Sprague/Sullivan intersection would begin around that time. Traffic from all directions will be rerouted during the three-week construction schedule much like the detours in place last summer while the Sprague junctions at Pines, McDonald and Evergreen were being completed.
Funds for the $1.15 million refurbishing of the Sprague/Sullivan intersection come through a federal grant. Aldworth said the switch from asphalt to concrete will mean a significant improvement in the stability of well-traveled roads like Sprague.
“This will keep it in good condition for a long time,” he said.
Worley added that the city’s approach to maintaining roads – as opposed to waiting until a surface needs to be completely replaced – saves the city money in the long run.
“When you have to totally rebuild a road it costs three times as much,” he said.
If all goes as scheduled, the Sprague/Sullivan phase should be done by June 21, clearing the way for a major resurfacing project on Broadway from Moore Road to Flora Road. The $2.75 million upgrade is funded through the state Transportation Improvement Board and will include widening the roadway, installing sewer systems and constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Broadway and Flora. Work is expected to take about three months, during which time the through route on Broadway between Moore and Flora will be closed. The Broadway/Flora intersection will also be closed for three weeks.
Another roundabout will be built this summer at the intersection of Mission Avenue and Flora as part of the extension of Indiana Avenue. The five-week project, scheduled to begin in mid-June, will connect Indiana to Mission at Flora and is also funded through TIB.
Worley acknowledged that the abundance of projects in a concentrated area is unusual – but added the funding scenario requires the city to complete the work while the money is still on the table.
“We recognize that there is a lot of work being done along the corridor but if we don’t get these projects done there’s a chance we’ll lose funding,” he said.