With the spring and summer roadwork season just around the corner, many Spokane-area entities are ramping up to continue or to start work on a number of significant transportation projects across the Inland Northwest.
Planned new projects that have yet to break ground, along with several ongoing jobs that are waiting for milder weather before work can resume, total more than $200 million. That figure doesn't include projects waiting on funding and that still could begin this year.
The biggest transportation-related project in the Spokane area remains the North Spokane Corridor, which will enter a new phase of work that's been estimated to cost around $38 million. Work on three separate contracts totaling around $65 million is continuing on the northernmost portion of the new freeway, and the Washington state Department of Transportation expects that at least two of those projects should wrap up this year.
Meanwhile, the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley both have planned a number of resurfacing projects on major arterials, including east Francis Avenue and east Sprague Avenue.
Efforts to design and engineer a new bridge to replace the aging southbound Sullivan Road bridge in Spokane Valley also are ongoing, and the city's senior engineer says work on that new structure could begin next year if a federal grant is awarded for the project.
Separately, Spokane County's Division of Engineering and Roads has planned a handful of large projects, including a nearly $4 million job to replace a deteriorated bridge over the Little Spokane River near the Wandermere area.
Also, Spokane International Airport has envisioned starting work this year on a redesign of its terminal entryway and of the configuration of entrances to its outdoor parking lots and parking garage, in an effort to serve travelers better. That project could cost between $2 million and $3 million to complete.
Department of Transportation
For the upcoming construction season, the DOT has more than $151 million worth of ongoing or planned road construction projects in the Spokane area. Along with the earlier mentioned continuing work on the north-south freeway, the DOT will start work later this spring on an estimated $38 million project to construct a new and wider overpass that will carry east Francis Avenue over the future lanes of the freeway.
Design and engineering work on that state-funded structure began last fall, and competitive bids from general contractors will be sought in April, says Spokane-based DOT spokesman Al Gilson. Savings from lower-than-anticipated contract bids for earlier phases of work allowed the DOT to progress with this phase earlier than it originally anticipated, Gilson says.
The new Francis overpass is to replace an existing, four-lane structure that takes the arterial across the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad tracks there. A longer bridge span is needed to allow both the freeway and the railroad tracks to pass underneath the street.
Work is expected to begin mid-year, and Gilson says he expects the project will take more than one construction season to complete.
Work on the North Spokane Corridor has been on hold for the past several months, but is scheduled to pick up this spring. That work includes a $21.5 million contract the DOT awarded in 2010 to Graham Construction & Management Inc., of Spokane, to construct 3.7 miles of southbound freeway lanes between Francis and Farwell Road. Work being performed under that federally-funded contract is expected to be completed later this year, Gilson says.
Another ongoing phase of work for the north-south freeway is a $37.5 million contract that also was awarded to Graham, in 2009. It involves construction of a two-mile, four-lane section of road and two bridge structures in the Wandermere area to connect U.S. 2 and the freeway where it becomes U.S. 395. That phase of work also should be finished in the coming months, Gilson says.
A phase of work that began last fall involves the construction of a $6.9 million interchange at Parksmith Road, which passes under the new freeway just east of the former Kaiser Aluminum Corp. Mead plant site on Spokane's North Side. Spokane-based Max J. Kuney Co. is the contractor for the interchange project, which also was made possible due to construction cost savings realized during earlier phases of the North Spokane Corridor project, Gilson says.
With cooperative weather, the new interchange might be finished later this year, he says.
When those three continuing projects are finished, all of the North Spokane Corridor north of Francis will be complete, accounting for more than half of the envisioned 10.5-mile thoroughfare between Wandermere and I-90.
Recently, state legislators and the DOT also submitted a request for a roughly $19 million federal Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund a portion of the north-south freeway's next phase south of Francis, estimated to cost around $31.5 million.
Gilson says the TIGER grant would pay for the relocation of seven miles of BNSF railroad tracks and track spur lines, as well as the construction of some overpass structures to take the freeway over a track spur. The project also would include more than a mile-long extension of the Children of the Sun bike and pedestrian trail that parallels already completed phases of the North Spokane Corridor.
A new pedestrian structure to take the trail over the railroad tracks also would be funded by the $19 million TIGER grant if it's received by the state's DOT.
Construction of the freeway lanes in that area would be funded by a separate source, Gilson says.
In southeast Spokane, the DOT plans to start work this year on the $13 million construction of an interchange at Cheney-Spokane Road and U.S. 195.
The project to construct north and southbound on- and off-ramps is intended to improve traffic flow and increase safety at the busy intersection and is scheduled to go out for bid in late April. Construction would begin shortly after a contract is awarded, Gilson says. He expects the project will be completed next year.
The DOT also continues to work on a number of other sizable road projects in the area, including a $15 million contract awarded last year to Acme Concrete Paving Inc., of Spokane, to widen I-90 from two lanes to three lanes in each direction between the Sullivan and Barker road interchanges, in Spokane Valley.
That project is the first of five planned phases to widen I-90 and improve traffic flow from east Spokane Valley to the Idaho state line. Work on the first phase should wrap up later this spring or summer, Gilson says.
Funding for the next phase of work, between Barker and Harvard Road, in Liberty Lake, hasn't yet been secured.
Another I-90 project that will continue this year is a $7.8 million resurfacingalso being done by Acme Concretebetween the Maple Street interchange and about a mile west of the Geiger Boulevard interchange, on the West Plains.
Work on that stretch includes the replacement of damaged and cracked concrete panels that make up the road's surface, as well as the grinding down of some parts of the freeway to remove deep rutting in the lanes. That federally funded project also should be completed later this year, Gilson says.
Annual road maintenance projects the DOT expects to begin and complete this year across the seven Inland Northwest counties that make up the agency's Eastern Region includes nearly 400 miles of highway resurfacing, road surface sealing, and safety-related projects. Gilson says that maintenance work is expected to cost around a total of $8 million.
City of Spokane
The city of Spokane is planning a total of just over $26.5 million worth of new transportation-related projects this year, including several projects to resurface some of its major arterials.
Included in that number are three separate projects totaling about $7.6 million to improve east Francis between Division and the city's east limits.
A complete rehabilitation of east Francis between Division and Market streets that's estimated to cost about $4.3 million is set to begin in late June and wrap up in the fall, the city says.
A $1.3 million contract to widen and resurface a half-mile stretch of Francis between Freya and Havana streets was awarded last December to Spokane-based Murphy Bros. Inc. That project also will include the addition of a continuous two-way center turn lane, bike lanes, sidewalks, and a planting strip on each side of the street. Work is planned to start in April and should be finished in mid-summer.
A third, $2 million project on Francis between Division and Havana also is planned this year to install intelligent transportation devices, such as traffic cameras and other traffic-detection equipment.
On Spokane's South Hill, a well-traveled, 1.3-mile stretch of 29th Avenue between Grand Boulevard and High Drive is scheduled to be resurfaced from curb to curb this spring and summer. A 12-inch water main beneath the street also is to be replaced during construction on the estimated $2.9 million project. As the street is being repaired, the city will install communication infrastructure beneath 29th between Grand and Bernard Street.
A $1.5 million project the city originally had planned to complete in 2010 on North Division, between the Spokane River and the city's northern limits, was delayed for two construction seasons but should take place this year. The project involves the installation of intelligent transportation devices and other infrastructure to provide traffic information to the public.
An overlapping stretch of Division between Euclid Avenue and the North Division "Y" also is to receive an adaptive signal control system this summer at a cost of about $700,000. City spokeswoman Ann Deasy says that computerized system will adjust the timing of traffic lights based on traffic conditions and flow.
A big ongoing road project to extend Riverside Avenue east into the University Districtmost of which was completed last year under a $3.7 million contract held by Spokane Rock Products Inc.also has yet to receive some finishing touches before a planned opening to traffic in May, Deasy says.
That half-mile extension of Riverside east of Division has been named Martin Luther King Jr. Way, and connects to Spokane Falls Boulevard.
A second phase of work would extend the new street northeast to connect with Trent. The city has said work on that second phase of the new street could begin next year if project funding is secured.
Also downtown, a section of Wall Street between Riverside and Third avenues will be rehabilitated and converted from a one-way street to a two-way street at a cost of about $1.3 million. The project is being funded by the Spokane Transit Authority and is intended to calm traffic. Work will take place this summer.
Meanwhile, the city plans this year to complete its downtown bicycle network at an estimated cost of about $745,000. Deasy says the network is intended to provide designated routes for cyclists throughout the downtown area. Routes are designated by painted lanes on streets, or along the street median, and with signage.
The city's downtown bike network is made up of a combination of designated bike lanes and shared bike and automobile lanes, the latter of which Deasy says are indicated with what are called sharrows. Those markings show a simple outline of a stick figure on a bike and also include a chevron symbol pointing in the direction of travel. She says cyclists should always travel in the center of the shared travel lanes so that they are visible to motorists.
Sharrows are used when a street is too narrow to allow for a designated bike lane, she adds.
"Technically, cyclists can ride where they want in the streets, but these are just marked lanes in lesser-traveled spots that point out where you should bike if you plan to," Deasy says. "It's also to alert motorists that they should expect to see cyclists in these areas."
The upcoming work this spring and summer on the remainder of the bike network, a federally-funded project, includes bike lane striping, installation of signage, and related work.
Other street rehabilitation projects funded by proceeds from the city's 10-year street bond that are planned to take place this year include the following:
Euclid Avenue between Crestline and Market streets will undergo complete resurfacing, and a 30-inch water main under the street also is to be replaced during construction. The project is estimated to cost $1.9 million and should begin in mid-May with a completion in late August.
Columbia Avenue between Post and Division streets also is planned to receive a complete rehabilitation at an estimated cost of about $1.8 million. Work is planned to start in mid-June and should wrap up in early October. A number of surrounding residential streets also are to be resurfaced as part of the project.
Adams Street between 21st and 15th avenues will undergo curb-to-curb repaving at an estimated cost of $1.1 million. Work is scheduled to take place from mid-June to early September and also will include the resurfacing of several surrounding residential streets.
Lidgerwood Street between Francis and North avenues is to undergo resurfacing with work starting in late April. The city recently awarded a $1 million project contract to Spokane-based Schimmels Construction Inc. The project could wrap up in late June or early July, and will include the resurfacing of some surrounding streets.
Jefferson between Wellesley and Rowan avenues is slated to be resurfaced at a cost of just under $1 million. Some surrounding residential streets also are to be included in the project, and work should start in late May and be completed in August.
A stretch of Spokane Falls Boulevard in the University District between Division and Sherman streets will receive $950,000 in landscaping enhancements and pedestrian-friendly upgrades starting in May. One lane of travel in each direction will be removed to allow for bike lanes to be added on each side of the street, and a landscaped median at the intersection of Spokane Falls and Pine Street also is to be installed, says Deasy. A water main and storm water pipes under the street are to be replaced, and other items to be installed include metered parking, pedestrian lights, and conduit lines under the street to allow for the future removal of overhead power lines.
The city also is planning a number of projects this year to pave some local-access streets that currently aren't paved, located in areas that have been designated as local improvement districts, or LIDs.
The LID projects total about $3.1 million and also include adding sidewalks and street curbs. Funding for those projects is a combination of street-bond dollars and contributions from property owners.
A preliminary total of more than $9.5 million worth of major road construction projects planned to take place this year across the city of Spokane Valley, including several planned projects to improve some of its arterials.
A one-mile stretch of Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan will undergo a $3.9 million resurfacing project this summer, says senior city engineer Steve Worley. Along with the repaving work, traffic signals will be upgraded and sidewalks will be added or upgraded to standards required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Another upcoming project this summer is a $1.3 million effort to upgrade the Argonne Road corridor between Knox Road and Trent Avenue. Work is to include improvements to traffic signals and the addition of a northbound right turn lane at Montgomery Avenue, the city says, along with some modifications to the Argonne and Knox intersection to allow for improved traffic flow.
A $2.1 million project to install intelligent transportation system equipment along Pines Road between 16th Avenue and Trent also is planned to take place during the upcoming construction season, Worley says. The infrastructure will provide traffic information to the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center to help improve signal coordination and timing, the city says.
The Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center is a multi-jurisdictional control facility based inside of the Spokane Intermodal Center, at 221 W. First. The center is funded by the cities of Spokane and Spokane Valley, Spokane Transit Authority, Spokane County, Washington state DOT, and the Spokane Regional Transportation Council.
A similar project to install traffic information equipment also is slated for Sprague between Evergreen and Sullivan, and on Sullivan between Sprague and I-90, with that work estimated to cost about $400,000, Worley says.
Additionally, Worley says that Evergreen Road between 16th and 32nd avenues is slated to be repaved at the same time as a water line replacement project there that Vera Water & Power Co. is planning for this summer. That job is estimated to cost about $725,000, he says.
An ongoing project the city of Spokane Valley continues to pursue this year is the engineering of a replacement bridge for the Sullivan Road southbound bridge that crosses the Spokane River just south of the Spokane Business & Industrial Park.
Temporary repairs to the aged structure were made earlier this year at a cost of about $156,000. Worley says the city has hired Spokane-based CH2M Hill Inc. to design and engineer the new bridge under a $1 million contract.
The estimated total cost of replacing the bridge is anticipated to be more than $19 million, Worley says. The city has secured about half the funding it needs, and is applying for a federal TIGER grant to fund the remaining portion. If those funds are secured, construction of the new bridge could begin by June of 2013, he says.
Spokane County's Division of Engineering & Roads has slated $14.1 million worth of road construction projects that are to begin this year.
The highest-value project the county says it will start work on this year is a $3.8 million effort to replace a bridge that carries Dartford Drive, in north Spokane County, over the Little Spokane River. Bob Brueggeman, senior engineer with the county, says the more than 50-year-old bridge is in a deteriorated condition and currently has weight restrictions posted. Work on that project is slated to start in April.
The new structure is planned to be in place by the end of the year, and related work to realign part of the intersection of Dartford and Mill Road, along with the road approaches to the bridge, is planned to take place next year, he says.
Another sizable project the county will begin and complete this year is the paving of a half-mile section of Thomas Mallen Road on the West Plains. The estimated $2 million project is being funded by a tax increment financing district, Brueggeman says.
That portion of Thomas Mallen currently is narrow and has a gravel surface. Brueggeman says the paving project would include one lane of travel in each direction along with a continuous center turn lane, curbing, and sidewalks. There aren't any businesses located on that stretch of the road at this time, he adds.
The County's engineering department also has plans for this summer to reconfigure and reconstruct part of the Mill Road corridor in north Spokane County. Brueggeman says that the project is ahead of its original construction schedule because the scope of work was slightly altered.
He says the estimated $2.5 million project, funded by the Washington state Transportation Improvement Board, will include the removal of two lanes of Mill between Hawthorne and Hastings roads to allow for a continuous, two-way center turn lane and bike lanes. Currently that portion of Mill Road is four lanes, he says.
"The project is to accommodate all modes of transportationto add bike lanes and allow a refuge in the middle for left-turning traffic to minimize rear-end collisions," he says.
He says the changes also will include modifications to the intersection of Waikiki and Five Mile Road, and at Mill and Waikiki the intersection will be reconfigured to a roundabout.
Spokane County also will invest a combined total of about $1.8 million into road preservation projects and safety enhancements in various locations throughout the county.
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