Spokane Journal of Business

Transportation work here to top $140 million in '13

City, DOT both plan improvements on Francis Avenue

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-Photo Courtesy of Washington state Deparment of Transportation
Crews tear down the Francis Avenue bridge to make way for a larger structure that will extend over freeway lanes and rail lines. Graham Construction & Management Inc., of Spokane, is the project's general contractor.

More than $140 million in new and continuing transportation-related construction projects are planned this year countywide, including at Spokane International Airport.

Projects include rehabilitation work through the city of Spokane's 10-year street bond program, reconstruction of Farwell Road in Spokane County, and continued work on the North Spokane Corridor by the Washington state Department of Transportation.

The DOT has more than $49 million in construction planned this year. It will continue work on the Francis Avenue Bridge, which was started last October, and has started construction of the Cheney-Spokane Road interchange along U.S. Highway195, in Latah Valley.

The city of Spokane has about $46 million in construction slated to happen this year, which includes about $15 million in anticipated street rehabilitation work. Two main arterials, Francis and Third avenues, both with construction taking place east of Division, are slated to receive attention to the tune of several multimillion dollar contracts.

Meanwhile, the city of Spokane Valley says it will have more than $14 million in transportation improvement-related projects this year, with a number of road projects rolling over from last year. Work will start on installation of intelligent transportation systems along Pines Road, which will monitor traffic and relay transportation information back to the Spokane Regional Transportation Management Center, located in downtown Spokane.

Spokane County is expected to undertake a roadway reconstruction project this year on Farwell Road, located north of Spokane city limits, and to continue work started last year on the Little Spokane Bridge. The county plans to spend more than $9 million on road construction this year.

While road work ramps up throughout the county, capital improvements totaling more than $22 million also are planned at Spokane International Airport on the West Plains and at Felts Field in East Spokane. Spokane International Airport is expected to receive about $19 million in upgrades this year, including a taxiway reconfiguration.

Airport spokesman Todd Woodard says it's planning a $3.3 million safety-and-enhancement project that will entail landscaping Airport Drive, the main arterial to and from the airport, and safety improvements on Spotted Road. Work at Felts Field is slated to continue with the second and third phases of a taxiway rehabilitation project that is estimated to cost $2.5 million. Improvements also will be made to the historic terminal building there.

Department of Transportation

The DOT plans to continue working toward completing the second half of the long-envisioned North Spokane Corridor, also known as the north-south freeway. Spokane-based Graham Construction & Management Inc. was awarded a $14 million contract last fall to construct a new Francis Avenue Bridge. Work on that project started in October and involves replacing the existing 160-foot bridge with a 455-foot bridge, which will make room for both the BNSF rail lines and the freeway to run underneath the bridge. Plans call for the tracks to run parallel to the freeway, which will be sandwiched between the rail lines.

The DOT will begin working on the BNSF rail realignment and a Children of the Sun trail extension in that same area later this year.

That project involves 7 1/2 miles of main rail line and spur track, which serves BNSF customers on the east and west sides of the proposed location of the NSC. The project also will involve building two freeway bridges and two pedestrian bridges. The Children of the Sun trail will be extended about a mile into the Hillyard neighborhood from Freya Street. The overall project is estimated to cost about $31 million, but only about $5 million will be spent on it this year, says Al Gilson, DOT eastern region spokesman.

In addition to planned NSC construction projects, the DOT is continuing to acquire property along the projected path of the freeway. The state agency has spent more than $170 million on right-of-way property acquisitions to date, Gilson says. About $130 million in unfunded right of way acquisitions remain, he says. That includes roughly 200 residential, nonresidential, and city parcels between Francis Avenue and the Spokane River, and a roughly three-mile area running along I-90, between Hamilton Street and the Sprague Avenue interchange.

The DOT also has started work on a new interchange at Cheney-Spokane Road and U.S. 195, about two miles south of the Interstate 90-Highway 195 junction. The project, which was awarded to Selland Construction Inc., of Wenatchee, with a bid of $6.4 million last fall, entails constructing a diamond interchange with on- and off-ramps and an overpass, Gilson says. The interchange there currently requires traffic to cross north or southbound lanes of the highway to access Cheney-Spokane Road. The new interchange, which will resemble many interchanges along I-90, eliminates all left-turning traffic at the intersection. Selland is working on grading the area currently, and the project is expected to take about five months to complete.

Two large DOT repaving projects are slated to get under way this year.

One project on state Route 291 will be awarded this month, and is expected to cost more than $4 million to complete. The project entails resurfacing about 11 miles of roadway between Division Street and the Stevens County line. The eastern portion of that road, from Division Street to Nine Mile Road, is Francis Avenue. Curb ramps will be installed at 20 intersections, and signs and traffic signals will be updated where needed.

The second repaving project calls for work to be performed on U.S. Highway 2 between Espanola Road and the I-90 junction. That project will involve 12 miles of roadway, including the portion running through Airway Heights.

Work continues on a $2.4 million I-90 illumination project started earlier this year and awarded to Northeast Electric LLC, of Woodland, Wash. The project involves installing 150 light poles and electrical systems, which have been in place since the 1960s along a three-mile stretch of road between the Latah Creek Bridge to the west and Liberty Park to the east, Gilson says.

City of Spokane

Halme Construction Inc. of Davenport was awarded one of two Francis Avenue street contracts funded by the city of Spokane that are expected to start this year. The city says that $1.1 million project will affect about a half-mile stretch of roadway between Crestline and Haven streets, west of work being done by the DOT on the Francis Avenue Bridge. In addition to the repaving, the construction also entails water main work.

The second Francis Avenue project, which tentatively is scheduled to go to bid later this month, will involve repaving the section of road between Division and Crestline streets. Work on the 1 1/2-mile stretch is expected to cost about $3 million.

The city also plans to begin a street rehabilitation project on Third Avenue between Division and Arthur streets. The roughly three-fourths of a mile section of street is slated to receive new sewer and water pipe, in addition to being repaved, and will take about four months to complete, the city says. The project is estimated to cost around $2 million.

A $1.4 million project to repave two miles of Rockwood Boulevard between Cowley and Crestline streets also tentatively is planned to start this spring. That project will take about two months to complete.

The city has more than $6 million in water projects scheduled this year, including replacing two water mains. One project, slated to go to bid this month, is estimated to cost about $1.9 million. Construction will affect a 1.3-mile stretch of road on Crestline between 37th and 57th avenues.

The second project, scheduled to go to bid in April, will involve about 1 miles of Euclid Avenue and North Foothills Drive, between Mayfair and Crestline. The project area will diverge from Euclid Avenue and wrap around Gonzaga Preparatory School to the north. That project is expected to cost about $1.8 million. Both projects will take about two or three months to finish once started.

Spokane-based electrical contractor Colvico Inc. will start work on a dynamic message board and intelligent transportation system contract it was awarded in September.

The $1.6 million project will involve installing electronic message boards at four locations along Division Street, and installing intelligent transportation systems along Maple Street and Third Avenue, the city says.

The four locations along Division are south of Cleveland Avenue, near Gordon Avenue, between Joseph and Columbia avenues, and north of Cozza Drive.

Intelligent transportation systems will be installed at three locations on Maple: north of the Maple Street Bridge; north of Mallon Avenue, where Maple and Ash streets merge; and at the Maple-Country Homes Boulevard junction. The two locations selected for installation on Third are between Cedar and Adams streets and between Bernard and McClellan streets downtown.

In addition to high-traffic road projects, two combined sewer overflow basins are planned to be built in residential areas in eastern Spokane. The combined cost of those basins is about $22 million, the city says. One basin will be built on a vacant lot the city owns on the corner of 21st Avenue and Ray Street, and the second will be built near Underhill Park.

City of Spokane Valley

The city of Spokane Valley this year has plans to extend Mansfield Avenue between Pines Road and Mirabeau Parkway, creating an east-west arterial. The city says construction will involve building a three-lane roadway with curb, gutters, sidewalks and bike lanes, including stormwater improvements. That project, expected to go to bid this summer, is estimated to cost $1.9 million.

Work will continue on a Pines Road intelligent transportation system project awarded last fall to Aztech Electric Inc., of Spokane Valley, which bid $949,000. Work entails installing traffic monitoring cameras at three intersections along Pines Road at Valley Way, Mission, and Trent avenues.

The Valley is expanding Sullivan Park near the Sullivan Street Bridge by 6,000 square feet this year in preparation for planned work on that overpass in the near future. Carolbelle Branch, spokeswoman for the city, says that Spokane Valley so far has secured about $15.7 million of the $19.7 million needed to replace the bridge's southbound roadway, expanding it to four lanes from two lanes.

Preliminary designs show the bridge also will feature three river lookout points, with river access and a 10-foot wide multiuse path that runs the length of the bridge. Branch says bridge construction will take up about 4,000 square feet of the park, but that space will be reverted back to park space once work is completed. In addition to the park expansion, the city is planning to begin work on a drain retrofit project on the bridge, which will eliminate stormwater from running off the bridge and into the river. That project is estimated to cost $287,000, Branch says.

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

•A $620,000 project to resurface the eastbound lanes of Sprague Avenue between Havana Street and Fancher Road, about a mile in length.

•A $415,000 project to resurface Sprague Avenue between Herald and University roads, about half a mile in length.

•A $365,000 project to resurface Argonne Road between Sprague and Broadway avenues, about half a mile in length.

•A $360,000 project to resurface Sprague Avenue between Fancher and Thierman roads, about a third of a mile in length.

Spokane County

The county says it plans to begin work on a $4.1 million reconstruction project on Farwell Road this year. The project will affect about three-fourths of a mile of roadway between Cherry and Market streets in the Mead area north of the Spokane city limits.

The project will involve constructing a three-lane road with curb, drainage swales, and sidewalks that will connect to the existing two-lane roadway at Myrtle Street, just east of the intersection at Market Street. Bob Brueggeman, senior engineer for the county, says the project also will involve laying new sewer lines. Construction will happen east of the U.S. Highway 2 and NSC junction and the project is expected to go out for bid in April, Brueggeman says.

Spokane County is looking to replace the Bruce Road Bridge that runs over Peone Creek in Mead, southeast of Mount Spokane High School. The current bridge will be removed, and the new one, measuring 100 feet long and 40 feet wide, will be constructed in the same place. The bridge replacement project is expected to cost $1.7 million.

Included in that amount are planned approaches for the bridge, which the county will construct and will involve realigning Bruce Road. The project will involve raising both sides of the roadway by eight feet to meet the height of the new bridge.

The bridge will be raised to allow more clearance for the creek, which runs under it. Brueggeman says the county recently completed all the right of way acquisition activity, and the project is expected to go to bid in April.

The county also is finishing construction on the Little Spokane River Drive bridge replacement project it started last May. Brueggeman says the new $2.1 million bridge is expected to be completed this spring. The bridge, located near the northwest corner of Wandermere Golf Course north of Spokane, carries Dartford Drive across the Little Spokane River.

The county chose to replace the more than 50-year-old bridge because of its deteriorating condition. The new two-lane bridge also will have a 10-foot-wide, multiuse path in addition to four-foot shoulder space.

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