Spokane Journal of Business

Transportation projects to top $266 million in 2009

Federal stimulus funds, big contract add to expected road work

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Transportation projects  to top $266 million in 2009
-—Photo courtesy of DOT
Work continues on a $17.3 million North Spokane Corridor concrete arch tunnel for a BNSF rail line to pass under the new freeway.

The Spokane area can expect a hefty dose of transportation spending this year, with more than $266 million in projects either under way or planned to start, including about $43 million of work on the north-south freeway thanks to more than $30 million in federal stimulus money.

Altogether, the Washington state Department of Transportation has about $129 million in projects under way or set to start in 2009. Meanwhile, the city of Spokane has $63 million in projects slated this year, and the city of Spokane Valley plans about $17.5 million in work. Spokane County has scheduled about $7 million in work for this year, including pieces of the big Bigelow Gulch Road improvement project.

Jeff Selle, manager of governmental affairs for the Spokane Regional Transportation Council, says it will be responsible for distributing about $10.4 million in federal stimulus funds to various jurisdictions in Spokane County. The SRTC was scheduled to consider final recommendations for use of that money at its March 12 meeting. Separately, the DOT's Eastern Region will get about $20 million in stimulus package funds, most of which will be spent on rural paving projects in Stevens and Pend Oreille counties, says DOT spokesman Al Gilson.

Meanwhile, Spokane International Airport will add to the transportation project mix with a collection of projects totaling $53.5 million that it hopes to get under way this year, says airport spokesman Todd Woodard. The projects include replacing the terminal ramp adjacent to the airport's A and B concourses. SIA currently is seeking bids for that project, which it expects will cost between $24 million and $27 million.

Among the other airport projects planned to start this year is a $4 million, 22,000-square-foot concrete tilt-up storage facility to be used to house snow removal equipment, and the first, $5 million piece of a planned $11.5 million project to extend the airport's main runway and to correct related gradient and line-of-sight issues there. It also hopes to receive some federal stimulus money to help further other big projects, including a $14 million terminal apron project, which will increase the amount of parking available for aircraft, Woodard says. Stimulus funding for airport projects will be distributed through the Federal Aviation Administration.

DOT projects

The DOT's biggest projects here this year are related to the north-south freeway project, formally known as the North Spokane Corridor project. Those include finishing up a $17.3 million concrete tunnel for a BNSF rail line to pass under the new freeway near Hawthorne Road, and completing a $19.5 million project to lay down the concrete driving surface for the freeway's northbound lanes between Freya Street and Farwell Road. Those projects both are expected to be completed late this coming summer.

Also, Graham Construction & Management Inc., of Spokane, will begin work on a project to lower U.S. 2 to pass under the freeway north of Farwell Road, as part of a $42.8 million project that includes six new bridges and will continue into 2011, Gilson says.

On Interstate 90, the DOT expects to begin a $16 million project this year to replace a weigh station located just west of the Washington-Idaho state line. It will construct a new facility about a mile west of the current one, and the new weigh station will be equipped with a system that gathers information about trucks as they drive by on I-90.

Also on I-90, the DOT plans to begin installing fiber-optic cable between the Sullivan interchange and the Idaho border. That $2 million project includes adding four new traffic cameras to the fiber-optic link and upgrading two others. That work should be completed in the spring of 2010. The DOT plans a similar project between the Geiger interchange and the nearby Washington State Patrol office this spring.

In a high-impact project, the DOT plans to begin an $11 million repaving this spring in which it will grind the pavement on I-90 between the Division Street and Hamilton Street interchanges to repair ruts. It also will apply an asphalt overlay on I-90 between the Hamilton interchange to just east of Havana Street, and will resurface a number of on- and off-ramps between the Geiger and Sullivan interchanges. That project is expected to begin later this spring and to be completed by late summer. During the project there will be lane closures and on- and off-ramp detours.

Just north of Spokane, at U.S. 2's intersections with North Glen Drive and Elk-Chattaroy Road, the DOT plans to add a northbound right-turn lane to improve access to the solid-waste transfer facility there and to improve the ability of drivers entering the highway there to see. That work is expected to begin in late summer and to be completed this fall.

Also, James W. Fowler Co., of Dallas, Ore., was awarded a $330,000 DOT contract to repair bridges that carry I-90 over Medical Lake Road on the West Plains.

City of Spokane

The city of Spokane expects to get under way this year on a $7 million widening and repaving of Five Mile Road between Austin and Lincoln roads. The project includes adding curbs, sidewalks and bike lanes, and installing trees, sewer and water lines, and grassy swales. Also, a center turn lane will be added between Stratton Avenue and Lincoln and a second lane will be added between Austin and Alberta Court to accommodate slower-moving vehicles on the uphill ascent there. The project will necessitate detours, which haven't been finalized yet, but could include routes on Austin and Cedar roads, city spokeswoman Ann Deasy says. Including design costs, the overall cost is estimated at $9.1 million.

The city hopes to begin construction of a long-planned project to construct a $16 million Havana Street railroad overpass, which had been postponed.

The city also plans to begin its Market Street rehabilitation project this summer, Deasy says. In that project, Market will be reconstructed between Garland and Francis avenues at a cost of about $3 million. During the 12- to 16-week project, the city also will replace the water main and related service connections beneath the roadway. Separately, a $2.7 million state grant will pay for new sidewalks, street lighting, and trees along Market between Heroy and Columbia avenues during the city project. The city expects to seek bids for that work in April, Deasy says, but still is working with local businesses on traffic detour routes.

Several other roadway reconstruction projects are scheduled this year, including:

•Alberta and Cochran streets between Northwest Boulevard and Francis Avenue. The project, which has an estimated cost of more than $4 million, is scheduled to begin in the spring and to be completed this fall. Traffic detours are expected during the project, Deasy says.

•Southeast Boulevard between Perry Street and 29th Avenue. That project, which is expected to cost $3.7 million and will be done this spring and summer, also will include replacement of a water line along that busy arterial. During the project, traffic will be detoured to 17th Avenue and east to Ray Street, Deasy says.

•37th Avenue, between Perry and Ray streets. The $3.4 million project also will include installation of new curbs and sidewalks along 37th between Crestline and Mount Vernon streets, as well as some major water transmission lines along the route. The project is to begin this summer and should be completed this fall.

•Lincoln Street between 17th and 29th avenues. The $2.6 million project will include adding curb extensions with storm water drainage in some spots, and will be done during the summer and fall.

Also, the city is planning a $4 million project to rehabilitate Montgomery Avenue between Ruby and Hamilton streets, along with some side streets along that route. The project, which will include a combination of grinding and overlaying asphalt in some areas and complete replacement of the paving in others, is expected to begin this spring and to end in the fall, Deasy says.

Recently, the city opened bids for a concrete intersection project at the intersection of Francis and Nevada Street. Bids for that project came in at about $800,000, and Acme Concrete Paving Inc., of Spokane, was the low bidder for the project, which is expected to be completed this fall.

About $2.9 million in other repaving jobs will be done around the city, including on Altamont Boulevard between Ninth and 11th avenues, Cook Street between Altamont and 14th Avenue, Woodfern Street at Altamont, and Ninth between Altamont and Jaque Street.

Other streets to be paved or repaved include Decatur Avenue between Freya and Julia streets and Julia between Francis and Decatur avenues; Bennett Avenue between Clarke and Spruce streets and Spruce between Bennett and Clarke; Hough Street from Trent Avenue to the end of Hough; and Rowan, Sanson, and Everett avenues between Market and the railroad right-of-way.

Also, the city has landed $1 million for a project to pave a portion of the Fish Lake Trail between Government Way and an already-paved portion of the trail north of Scribner Road, and is seeking another $1 million to pay the expected $2 million needed to complete that path.

Spokane County

Spokane County plans a "fairly light construction schedule" in 2009, with about $7 million in projects planned, says county contract engineer Chad Coles.

Among the projects it plans are the continuing Bigelow Gulch Road widening and reconstruction, which overall is expected to cost about $53.9 million and eventually will widen about 5.8 miles of the busy arterial and add 2.5 miles of new roadway to the route, which connects northeast Spokane to Spokane Valley.

Bids for what is expected to be about a $2.5 million contract will be sought around May for widening a two-mile stretch of Bigelow Gulch between Weile Avenue and Jensen Road. Most of that work will be done off the roadway, so traffic impacts will be minimal, Coles says. Meanwhile, under a separate, $2 million contract, work is continuing on a widening of about 3,000 feet of Bigelow Gulch just east of Havana Street. That work, which is being done by Scarsella Bros. Inc., of Seattle, will continue through June.

Recently, the county opened bids to reconstruct Freya between Lincoln and the alignment of Wilding Road and widen Freya to three lanes from two. MDM Construction Inc., of Spokane, was the apparent low bidder for that project, with a bid of $632,000, Coles says.

That work is expected to get under way soon, he says.

The county plans a couple of smaller-scale projects this year as well. One is a $300,000 job to repave the westbound lanes of Country Homes Boulevard between Division and Wall streets. That work will entail detouring westbound traffic for about six weeks beginning sometime in April.

In addition, the county also plans to rehabilitate a bridge on Elder Road about a mile from state Route 27 that carries traffic over railroad tracks there. That $300,000 project includes some road repaving on the approaches to the bridge.

The county will be doing $1.3 million worth of chip sealing to about five miles of unpaved roads in the area of Jackson and Nelson roads between Elk-Chattaroy Road and the Pend Oreille County Line, creating a paved link between Elk-Chattaroy and Spring Valley Road, in Pend Oreille County.

Among the projects the county hopes to get money for this year are the reconstruction of Strong Road on Five Mile Prairie, at a cost of about $310,000; a $1.4 million project to reconstruct and widen Farwell Road in connection with the North Spokane Corridor project; and reconstruction and widening of Harvard Road between Euclid and state Route 290, at an estimated cost of $5.2 million, Coles says.

Spokane Valley

The city of Spokane Valley has projects totaling about $17.5 million planned or under way, including major intersection improvements in the area of the westbound Interstate 90-Pines exit. That $5.5 million project includes improvements to the intersection of Pines Road and Indiana Avenue, along with installation of a traffic signal at Mansfield Avenue. Steve Worley, a senior engineer with the city, says the work is expected to be done in July or August.

Meanwhile, work on the $11.8 million Barker Road Bridge reconstruction project will continue until about February next year. The contractor, Morgen & Oswood Construction Co., of Great Falls, Mont., is drilling support shafts to a depth of 80 feet below the riverbed for the new bridge.

An earlier planned project to replace asphalt at the intersection at Broadway Avenue and Fancher Road with concrete was postponed until this year, as was a planned $900,000 project to restripe Broadway between Pines and Park roads, Worley says. The city will seek bids for the intersection project soon and expects to complete it in June. During the intersection work, the north-south lanes will at times be reduced to one lane, and the east-west traffic will be detoured at times, he says.

The Spokane Valley City Council still is discussing whether to modify Broadway to a three-lane configuration from the current four-lane configuration, he says. If the restriping work isn't done this year, the city might have to return grant money it has received for the project, he says.

The city also is working with the DOT to install fiber-optic cable through conduits to connect signals at Appleway and Sprague to the Spokane Regional Traffic Management Center in downtown Spokane so the traffic center can adjust the timing of signals there in case of traffic slowdowns on I-90 that could cause increased traffic on the arterial. Colvico Inc., of Spokane, will do that work, which Worley says will cost about $640,000 and should be completed in May.

Spokane Valley plans to replace several asphalt intersections with concrete ones this year. The city held over a planned intersection replacement at Broadway and Fancher, which it plans to complete this year by the end of June. That project is estimated to cost about $770,000, Worley says. A similar project at Pines and Sprague is expected to cost about $742,000, and also is scheduled to be completed by the end of June.

The replacement of the Evergreen Road-Sprague Avenue intersection is expected to cost about $1.1 million and will be done during July, while the $1 million McDonald-Sprague intersection is to be done in August, Worley says.

Another project, a $2.6 million job to resurface Sprague between University and Evergreen roads, could be done this year as well, Worley says. The project is being designed by Taylor Engineering Inc., of Spokane, but construction will depend on funding, Worley says.

  • Jeanne Gustafson

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