Travelers and commuters along Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, county streets and thoroughfares have seen their fair share of construction signs — projects that, while creating temporary delays, are designed to make regional travel safer and easier.
Some of these projects have either been wrapped up or are nearing completion, with many more in the works and on the boards of regional planners.
Spokane Valley projects ongoing or wrapping up
Several projects listed in the city’s 2023 – 2028 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) have concluded or are nearing completion. The largest is the Barker Road/Trent Avenue (State Route 290) Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad Grade Separation in Spokane Valley.
The project has received $26 million of funding from various local, state and federal sources and began in March 2021, with general contractor Max J. Kuney Company awarded $11.637 million for the work. The scope includes upgrading the busy intersection at Barker and Trent with a two-lane roundabout and replacing the at-grade rail crossing with a new overpass.
Roundabout work has been completed, and traffic began using the new feature in November 2021. The overpass is slated for completion later this year.
Other Spokane Valley projects being completed this summer begin with the $2.5 million reconstruction of Sprague Avenue from Havana to Fancher Road, which included repaving the roadway and new sidewalks with ADA ramps and ITS conduit.
Two dangerous intersections have seen upgrades, the first a $2.3 million revamping of the Sullivan Road/Wellesley Avenue interchange at East Valley High School, replacing the four-way stop with a traffic signal, road widening and other features. This work was coordinated with Phase 6 of Spokane County’s Bigelow Gulch Project.
The other intersection is Barker Road and Sprague Avenue, which saw a four-way stop replaced with a roundabout and other improvements, costing $2.5 million.
Spokane Valley projects coming up
The largest of planned projects in 2023-2024 is the Pines Road/SR 290 BNSF Grade Separation project. Like Barker Road further east, this project will create more safety — there have been 49 collisions at or near the intersection between 2017 – 2020 — and better traffic flow through the removal of the existing traffic light and railroad crossing.
A two-lane roundabout a bit east of the current intersection will be built to replace the signal, while an underpass will remove the at-grade crossing. Construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2024, and the city has already secured funding for the estimated $40 million project — including a $21.69 million award from the U.S. Department of Transportation this past August.
“This is a huge win for our city, region and state,” Spokane Valley Mayor Pam Haley said in a news release announcing the USDOT award. “Funding this project has been a top transportation priority for over five years and will greatly impact our community for the better.”
The city is also proceeding with more work improving Barker Road. Funding has been secured for an estimated $1.435 million improvement to the Union Pacific railroad crossing north of the Spokane River, featuring the reconstruction and widening to three arterial lanes and improvements to the Euclid Avenue intersection north of the Spokane River crossing. Work is scheduled for 2023 – 2024.
Also included is a 10-foot-wide asphalt shared-use path on the east side of the road — a $500,000 project completed this summer.
Slated for construction in 2023 is an estimated $260,000 surface preservation of the Mission Avenue bridge deck over Evergreen Road and an estimated $2.16 million improvement to the Pines Road/Mission Avenue intersection, including new signalization and a turn lane onto southbound Pines.
In design and scheduled for construction in spring 2023 is the preservation of Broadway Avenue from Fancher to Park roads. The estimated $1.8 million project includes pavement preservation and sidewalk ramp upgrades as needed.
Also in design and scheduled for construction next spring is an estimated $3.462 million upgrade to Sullivan Road from Sprague to 8th Avenue — work that includes pavement rehabilitation, sidewalks, signalization and stormwater improvements, along with improvements at the intersection of Sullivan and 4th Avenue.
According to the city’s TIP, funding for these projects has been secured.
The future for Spokane Valley Transportation
Increasing residential development in southeast Spokane Valley creates more stress on south Barker Road — the main arterial feeding the development. City planners recognize this and have included several projects designed to improve the South Barker Road Corridor from Appleway to the city limits over the coming years. The city has secured $250,000 in funding for design work, which includes intersection improvements with either signals or roundabouts at 4th and 8th avenues and reconstruction of the lanes. The estimated cost for the project is $13 million.
Also in the works for Barker Road are improvements to the section north from Appleway to I-90, widening that overcrowded freeway access to five lanes and improving signalization at Appleway and Broadway. The estimated $6.5 million project is slated to begin design work in 2024 – 2025.
The city also continues to work on improvements to Trent Avenue/SR 290 access and has secured partial funding to reconstruct the Sullivan Road interchange on the highway. Spokane Valley was awarded $2.5 million for preliminary engineering, which began in 2021, with four design proposals ranging in price from $35.2 million to $43.1 million.
According to city engineering officials, staff will collect public input this fall on which design is preferred and then present that to the City Council for final approval later this year, with right-of-way acquisition scheduled to begin in 2025 and construction sometime in 2027.
An open house for the project is scheduled for October 27 at 5 p.m. at East Valley Middle School. An online survey is available at www.spokanevalley.org/sullivaninterchange.
Other proposed projects include intersection improvements at Flora Road and SR 290, including a possible roundabout, improvements of Pines Road/SR 27 at the 16th Avenue intersection, reconstruction of Barker Road north of I-90 to Mission and widening of the Argonne Road bridge over I-90. Engineering work on these projects will begin in the next few years.
Liberty Lake projects
The city east of Spokane Valley along the Idaho border has seen its share of construction work over the past several years.
The final phase of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) I-90 to Harvard Road project is taking place with the construction of an overpass over I-90 and an extension of Kramer Parkway. The $23.5 million project featured improvements at the I-90/Barker Road interchange — including two new roundabouts — along with resurfacing and widening of Harvard Bridge over the freeway to three lanes, one of which provides better access from the south to westbound I-90.
The Barker Road work was completed in September 2020, and the Harvard Road work wrapped up in September 2021. The Kramer Parkway overpass and extension between Barker and Harvard roads began in October 2021. When finished, it will connect Country Vista Drive south of I-90 to Mission Avenue north of the freeway.
Improvements at the southern intersection include signalization, while the northern intersection features a WSDOT-constructed roundabout at Kramer and Mission. That work is complete, with the reconstruction of Mission Avenue, including pavement replacement, street widening and installation of curbs, sidewalks and a multi-use path from Harvest Parkway to Harvard Road being done by Greenstone Homes as part of their River Crossing development final plat agreement.
Completion of the overpass was scheduled for late 2022, however, WSDOT officials said that will be delayed until 2023 due to difficulty obtaining prefabricated walls from the manufacturer that will support Kramer Parkway onto and off of the overpass.
Motorists and residents using Kramer Parkway south of Country Vista benefited from a $1.69 million partial reconstruction of the roadway from Country Vista to Sprague Avenue. Work on this portion of the roadway was completed this summer.
Other transportation projects on the city’s 2022 – 2027 Capital Facilities Plan include a $3.176 million rebuilding of Country Vista from Liberty Lake Road to the western city limits slated for 2024 – 2025; a $400,000 pavement overlay of Mission Avenue from Country Vista to Molter and a $1.126 million pavement preservation project of Sprague Avenue from Liberty Lake Road to Gage scheduled for 2026.
County work in Spokane Valley
Spokane County’s Public Works Department has a number of projects taking place at any time and being planned. Upcoming projects in Spokane Valley can be viewed on the county’s 2022 – 2027 Transportation Improvement Plan website.
A major project scheduled for completion in late October is Phase 6 of the county’s multi-year improvements to the Bigelow Gulch Corridor. Phase 6 is an $8.611 million project in coordination with the city of Spokane Valley and the East Valley School District for roadway improvements and reconstruction from Forker Road to Wellesley Avenue and Sullivan Road.
The county is also finalizing a $239,000 project to improve horizontal curve signage on some of its primary roadways, including southeast of the Spokane Valley city limits on 32nd Avenue from East Saltese Road and South Conklin Drive to South Saltese Lake Road along with South Henry Road from East Sprague Avenue to East Saltese Lake Road.
Weekly travel updates and the latest road work developments can be viewed on the county’s website.