Warmer weather in Spokane Valley means baseball, picnics and road construction.
For Steve Worley, capital projects engineer for the city of Spokane Valley, the job of renovating streets is a year-round commission, a task he describes as “just trying to preserve the system.”
Worley received some good news recently when the Spokane Valley City Council approved $2.8 million for a dedicated street preservation program, a budget that, in the past, has relied on funds from an annual operations-and-maintenance account.
There are now 23 resurfacing projects that could happen in 2012, upgrades that “range from a half-mile to a mile,” according to Worley.
With a pricetag of $5.48 million for the entire preservation inventory, the city hopes to catch a break on bids for the work. With $1.5 million from the maintenance fund plus the recently awarded $2.8 million, Spokane Valley has $4.3 million to spend.
“We’re hoping that with the current bidding climate, we can get all these projects done with the street preservation funds we have,” Worley said.
One refurbishing project is already underway, the repaving of Appleway from Farr to University that began last week.
By mid-May, motorists along Sprague Avenue, between Evergreen to Sullivan, will notice a few changes to the normal traffic routines. The work will include replacing a layer of crushed material below the street along with the asphalt above with an entirely new two-layered road. In 2009, another project along the city’s main thoroughfare replaced two inches of asphalt on Sprague between University to Evergreen.
Worley said the latest rendition of improvements along Spokane Valley’s main thoroughfare will take place in four phases with each phase lasting between two to three weeks. The first phase will concentrate on the north portion of Sprague just east of Adams to Sullivan. As with the other three phases, motorists will still be able to travel down three lanes of traffic – one eastbound, one westbound and a center lane.
The timeline for the project, according to Worley, is 65 days, with construction taking place days and evenings, Monday through Friday.
One component of the work involves upgrades to the intersection at Adams and Sprague while the proposed elimination of the traffic signal at Progress and Sprague will not take place. Worley said the decision was based on comments from residents to keep the crosswalk and traffic light near the former site of a Yoke’s grocery store.
“It’s not as much for traffic as it is for pedestrians,” he said.
The city continues to do its best to reduce the impact on commercial locations in and around the scheduled construction. In addition to a slew of community meetings, Spokane Valley representatives consulted with the city of Spokane for advice on ways to lessen the repercussions on retailers. On Sprague, each driveway to a business will be built up with gravel so vehicles can access it off the main road. Contractors will also be required to hire a public liaison coordinator who will be a source of updates and general communication between the building team and the affected neighborhood.
“We talked to the city of Spokane about some of the things they did when they were working on Second and Third avenues,” Worley said. “This was one idea that was very effective.”
One of the other major road events this summer will involve a portion of Evergreen that will coincide with the installation of a waterline by Vera Water and Power. Known officially as the “Evergreen Road Preservation Project,” the upgrade was approved by City Council in February by a unanimous vote.
“I’m all for this project,” Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey said in February. “Evergreen is one of the major north/south arterials with a connection to the freeway. This project will strengthen the roadway.”
Worley said he was encouraged by a community meeting on the project last week that was attended by over 40 residents.
“People were happy to be getting their road replaced,” he said.