As often occurs with road construction projects, crews reconstructing Sprague Avenue between Evergreen Road and Sullivan Road encountered an unexpected situation that will change the order of the construction phases and extend the project's completion date from mid-August to late August.
According to project manager Pete Fisch of Spokane Valley's Public Works Department, crews uncovered a natural gas line that was too shallowly buried, leaving it vulnerable to damage that could result in a leak or rupture of the line.
"In some places, it was only six inches below the asphalt," said Fisch.
The current standard for natural gas line burial is 36 inches. Despite the ongoing construction, the gas line remains intact and no leak has been detected.
The city is collaborating with Avista to have the line relocated to the appropriate depth before proceeding with paving.
"Avista, our contractor Poe Asphalt, and their sub-contractors have been outstanding to work with," Fisch said of their efforts to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and minimize the impacts to traffic and the surrounding businesses.
The contractor's public liaison representative for the project has already begun informing businesses in the construction area of the delay.
"They are as disappointed as we are about the situation, but they've been very understanding," Fisch noted.
Relocation of the gas line in the area currently under construction along the south side of Sprague Avenue between the 14900 block and Sullivan will extend the completion date of that phase through the first and second week of July.
While that phase of construction is wrapping up, Avista will do some exploratory digging in the roadway to the west to determine if the gas line there will also need to be buried deeper.
To allow for that possibility and complete the project as soon as possible, the order of the last two phases of construction is being reversed. The south side of Sprague between the 14900 block and Evergreen will be reconstructed between mid-July and early August.
Construction on the north side of that same stretch is expected to start around early August, with the entire project wrapping up in late August.
Construction staff members are working to keep the businesses in the construction area informed and to keep business access open. Updates to the schedule and traffic impacts will also be provided to the media and the community through the city's weekly Traffic Alerts.
To receive weekly e-mailed Traffic Alerts with updates on this and other road construction projects in Spokane Valley, go to the city of Spokane Valley Web site at www.spokanevalley.org and select the envelope icon in the lower left side of the home page.
Recorded weekly Traffic Alerts are also available by calling