Spokane Journal of Business

Transportation project spending to hold steady in 2014

DOT, Valley, county all plan bridge projects this year

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-—Kim Crompton
The $14 million Francis Avenue Bridge project nears completion on Spokane’s North Side. Two lanes of the structure are open to traffic, and the bridge is expected to be fully open later this year. Graham Construction & Management Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on that project.
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-—Katie Ross
The skeleton of the $8 million aircraft rescue and firefighting facility rises at the Spokane International Airport, on the West Plains. The structure is to be completed in December.
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-—City of Spokane
About half of Spokane’s $41 million in construction projects this year involve waste management improvements, including this landscaped combined-sewer overflow site on the South Hill.
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More than $140 million in new and continuing transportation-related construction projects are slated for 2014 across Spokane County, roughly on par with last year, including continuing work on the North Spokane Corridor, multiple bridge projects, and assorted paving projects. 

The Washington state Department of Transportation, the city of Spokane Valley, and Spokane County all have bridge projects scheduled to begin or wrap up this year. The DOT will be finishing the new Francis Avenue Bridge, the Valley is planning to begin work on a Sullivan Road Bridge project, and the county has several bridge plans on tap. In total, bridge projects that begin this year will top $12 million. 

The city of Spokane has about $41 million slated for construction projects this year, about half of which will be spent on wastewater projects, including the two 1 million-plus gallon combined sewer overflow tanks being built at Underhill Park and at 21st and Ray Street. Other city projects for this year include restoration and sidewalk construction on High Drive, repaving a portion of Francis Avenue, and constructing a stormwater decanting facility. 

In Spokane Valley, the city is planning to begin work on a Sullivan Road bridge replacement project that originally was slated to begin last year. Funding issues pushed the project back. It’s now planned to begin this spring and finish in mid-2015.

Projects at the Spokane International Airport for this year include continued work on a 16,000-square-foot, $8 million aircraft rescue and firefighting facility. That project is slated to be completed in December. The new facility will allow for faster response times to the airport’s current runways and also to a proposed third runway, says airport spokesman Todd Woodard. 

The project will include constructing four equipment bays, a ramp, parking areas for support staff, an access road to Airport Drive, and another access road to the airport’s taxiways. The single-story facility is being built south of the main terminal complex and will replace a facility located northeast of the main terminal. 

The airport also is planning the third phase of a Felts Field taxiway and ramp rehabilitation project, which will include rehabilitating the taxiways and ramps between several buildings. The project, which comes in at about $4.4 million total, was awarded to L&L Cargile Inc., of Spokane Valley. The phase of work is set to begin this April and to be completed in September. 

Several phases of a taxiway reconstruction project at the airport also are set to happen this year. The $3.9 million first phase will begin in April and will involve reconfiguring existing and new taxiways, as well as adding high-speed taxiways. The contractor for that project is William Winkler Co., of Spokane. The second phase of the project will go to bid in June of this year, with construction beginning in 2015. The cost of that phase is estimated at $3.5 million. 

In addition to planned construction projects, the Spokane Regional Transportation Council’s long-term transportation plan, called Horizon 2040, is scheduled to begin with some preliminary projects in 2014. SRTC will be releasing a call for projects for the surface transportation portion of the program this month, and the organization anticipates it will award $18 million in funds this year for submitted projects. The funds will go to projects in three categories: roadway reconstruction, roadway improvement, and nonroadway projects, such as bicycle or pedestrian pathways. 

Department of Transportation 

The state Department of Transportation has more than $46 million in projects planned for this year. The department expects to continue work on the second half of the long-envisioned North Spokane Corridor project. Part of that work, the $14 million Francis Avenue Bridge project, which began in the fall of 2012, is slated to be completed this summer, says DOT project engineer Darrell McCallum. Traffic on the bridge opened with one lane each direction in December. The new 450-foot-long bridge replaces a 160-foot-long structure and enable the BNSF railroad tracks and north-south freeway lanes to pass underneath. Graham Construction & Management Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on that project.

The DOT also plans to continue this year work on a BNSF railway realignment project and an extension of the Children of the Sun trail, both of which began last year. The construction contract for this year’s phase of the work is about $16 million, says DOT spokesman Al Gilson. Work on that phase is expected to be completed in 2015, and will involve 7 1/2 miles of rail line and spur track. The project also will include building two freeway bridges and two pedestrian bridges. The trail extension will run about a mile into the Hillyard area from Freya Street.  

The department is also continuing work on a Cheney-Spokane Road and U.S. 195 interchange improvement project, which is slated to be completed in late spring of this year. The $6.4 million project, which was awarded to Selland Construction Inc., of Wenatchee, began in the fall of 2012. The project entails building a diamond interchange with on-and-off ramps and an overpass, Gilson says. 

The DOT also is continuing to acquire right-of-way land along the north-south freeway’s projected path, Gilson says. Recently, the department has been focused on buying residential properties along Interstate 90, mostly on the south side along 3rd Avenue, Gilson says. 

The department also is continuing what it calls an illumination rebuild along I-90 in Spokane, Gilson says. For this year, the lighting system along the freeway from Liberty Park to Havana Street is up for replacement, at a construction cost of $1.1 million, Gilson says. The old light bulbs will be replaced with light-emitting diode bulbs, and the wiring and poles will be replaced as well. The department also added to the project some improvements to nearby sprinklers and irrigation systems. Colvico Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor on that project, which should be completed this summer, Gilson says. 

Finally, the department will be installing traffic cameras and fiber optics along U.S. 195 between Hatch Road and Cheney-Spokane Road, Gilson says. The construction contract is for $600,000, he says, and Colvico also is the contractor for that project. The project should be completed this summer. 

The department has a number of paving jobs planned this year, including the following: 

•A $5.1 million repaving project on a 12-mile stretch of U.S. 2 between Espanola Road and I-90. The department is also partnering with the city of Spokane to add a traffic signal at the U.S. 2- Flint Road intersection. That project, which has been awarded to Spokane’s Inland Asphalt Co., should begin in April and finish in mid-summer. 

•A $3.7 million repaving project on I-90 from the Spokane-Lincoln county line to the I-90-Salnave Road interchange. The project is slated for spring, and was also awarded to Inland Asphalt. 

•A $1.6 million repaving of  a section of U.S. 2 from Westwood Road to the Pend Oreille-Spokane county line north of Spokane. The project is set to begin in mid-July and wrap up in the fall. The contractor is Spokane Rock Products Inc., of Spokane.

•A $900,000 repaving of state Route 904 from Cheney to Four Lakes, which will start in mid-June and finish this summer. The contractor is also Inland Asphalt Co. 

•A project to repave I-90 from Barker Road to the Washington-Idaho state line, which is expected to begin this spring, but hasn’t been advertised for bid yet. 

City of Spokane

The city of Spokane anticipates spending about $14 million on street projects and just over $1.2 million on sidewalk projects this year. Included is a $3.5 million High Drive rehabilitation project, which will begin in late spring and continue into 2015, city spokeswoman Julie Happy says. The project will involve adding a sidewalk and swales on one side of the street, and adding bike lanes to both sides of the street. The street also will be narrowed, Happy says, through the additions of the bike lanes and some parking. The work will run from 29th Avenue to Scott Street.

The city also has contracted with Shamrock Paving Inc., of Spokane, to do a second phase of repaving along Francis Avenue, valued at about $3 million. The section of the arterial that’s to be repaved this year runs from Division to Crestline Street, Happy says. 

The city also has work scheduled for this year on Lincoln and Monroe streets, from 17th Avenue to Seventh Avenue. That $990,000 project will involve repaving the road, replacing some of the asphalt, and adding some Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible ramps to the sidewalks. The project tentatively is planned to begin this spring, Happy says. 

Also on the agenda for this year are several road overlay and upgrade projects, including on Grand Boulevard and McClellan Street between 14th Avenue and 18th Avenue. That project, which will cost about $505,000, will involve overlaying and repairing some of the sidewalk ramps, Happy says. The project hasn’t been awarded yet, but it’s planned for this spring and summer. 

The main portion of a Third Avenue reconstruction is finished, but the city will be working on an extension of that project this year, with $345,000 worth of work to be done on Arthur Street, from I-90 to Second Avenue. That project will be going to bid shortly, Happy says.

In addition to road projects, the city also is planning to spend about $21 million on wastewater projects. Construction of a $7.7 million, 1.5 million-gallon combined sewer-stormwater overflow tank is planned to begin this March at Underhill Park. Garco Construction Inc., of Spokane, is the contractor. A similar, 1 million gallon tank is currently under construction by Clearwater Construction and Management LLC, of Spokane, at 21st Avenue and Ray Street for $4.7 million.

City spokeswoman Marlene Feist says work is under way on a $1.25 million stormwater decant facility, to be built on land just north of Sprague Avenue and west of the old Playfair racetrack site. Halme Construction Inc., of Davenport, began work on the project last fall, and it’s scheduled to be completed this coming fall, Feist says. Trucks will bring sediments collected from catch basins to the facility, she says, which will decant the moisture from the sediments and then the dirt will be taken to a landfill. 

The city also plans to do some water main work, including rerouting the main on Cowley Street from 8th Avenue to Chandler Street. That $800,000 project is slated to begin in March.  

City of Spokane Valley

The city of Spokane Valley’s 2014 transportation improvement program, which is still subject to change, lists a number of possible projects. Included is the about $15.4 million Sullivan Road bridge replacement project, which is slated to begin this year after being derailed briefly last year when a vital part of project’s funding was left off the state transportation bill. The city was able to obtain a new engineering estimate last fall that sliced more than $4 million from the original estimate, making it within reach of funding alternatives, says city spokeswoman Carolbelle Branch. 

For 2014, the city is planning to replace the southbound portion of the bridge with a 63-foot-wide, four-lane span. This phase of the project is estimated at about $8.4 million, with another phase to follow next year. 

The city is also planning a $3 milion upgrade to the Argonne road corridor, which will include adding a northbound right turn lane at the Montgomery Road intersection and improving traffic signals at Knox Avenue.

The city is continuing work on an extension of Mansfield Avenue east of Houk Road 300 feet toward Discovery Place. For 2014, the section is scheduled to be constructed into a three-lane arterial with sidewalks, curbs, and stormwater facilities, at a cost of about $2 million. 

A number of other street improvement projects that are slated to begin this year in the Valley including the following:

•A $1.7 million project to combine resurfacing Argonne Road from Sprague Avenue to Broadway Avenue, Sprague Avenue from Havana Road to I-90, Sprague from I-90 to Thierman Road, and Sprague Avenue from Herald Road to University Road. 

•A $1.3 million project to resurface Sprague Avenue from Vista Road to Herald Road.

•A $1.1 million sidewalk infill project, which includes Farr Road from Appleway Boulevard to 4th Avenue, Perrine Road from Main Street to Sprague Avenue, and the Sprague Avenue Bus Shelter pads. 

•A $671,000 project to add a center turn lane to the north and south sides of the Grace Road intersection at Pines Road.

The second phase of an Appleway Trail extension originally was planned for this year, but the city hasn’t decided yet whether that will go forward in 2014, Branch says. She says the city council has asked city planners to come back to it with options for that phase. 

Spokane County 

The county has about $8.2 million in construction costs, about $10 million in maintenance work, and about $10 million in preservation work listed on its transportation improvement program for this year. Projects include replacing the Bruce Road Bridge, which runs over Peone Creek in Mead, southeast of Mount Spokane High School. That project, which originally was planned for last year, will include removing the current bridge and building a new 100-foot-long, 40-foot-wide bridge. 

Chad Coles, assistant county engineer, says that bids for the estimated $1.7 million project were opened in late February. Bruce Road will be closed for the summer for construction, he says. 

Included in that cost figure are improvements to approaches to the bridge, which will be constructed by the county. The approaches will involve realigning Bruce Road, and both sides of the road will need to be raised eight feet to meet the new bridge.

The county is also planning to replace the Christensen Road Bridge, Coles says, at a cost of about $1.8 million. The project is slated to begin this year; however, the county hasn’t yet finished acquiring all the necessary right-of-way land, he says. 

The city still has a small amount of work to do on a Farwell Road reconstruction project, Coles says, including some sidewalk work and finishing a retaining wall. The road is open to traffic, and there won’t be any more significant traffic impacts associated with the project, the cost of which was around $4.1 million, Coles says. The project began in 2013 and should wrap up this year.

The county stormwater utility department will send a project out to bid in April to replace the asphalt drainage channel on Country Homes Boulevard with a drainage pipe covered in soil and native plants. The project is valued at $2.5 million.

Katie Ross
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Reporter Katie Ross covers manufacturing, hospitality, and government at the Journal of Business. An outdoor enthusiast and snowboard fanatic, Katie is a recent graduate of Gonzaga University.  

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