Marlene Feist, Public Works Director of Strategic Development, 509.625.6505
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 at 12:38 p.m.
The barricades, orange cones, and “construction ahead” signs have mostly been put away as the City concluded its annual construction season. The pandemic delayed the start of 2020 construction, but decent weather allowed projects to continue late into the fall and contractors to finish strong.
Around the City, you can see the improvements. New left-turn signals and pockets at the intersection of Mission and Hamilton. A new playground for kids of all abilities in Riverfront Park. New bus stops for the coming Central City Line. And lots of smoothed pavement as we ramped up street maintenance projects to help our community with economic recovery.
Last spring, the City announced that it would add $10 million in street maintenance work, contracted out to the private sector, to be done during 2020 and 2021 to provide a boost to economic activity. That work includes grind and overlay work and chip seal work. Combined with arterial street maintenance done by the City’s Street Department work, our citizens will enjoy about 60 miles of improved arterials during 2020 and 2021. Work is distributed throughout the City to benefit many residents and businesses.
“In this extraordinary year, we put more dollars to work to put more of our community members to work,” says Mayor Nadine Woodward. “We followed strict health protocols, while delivering on our commitment to aid our community with additional public infrastructure investments. And we’re not done; our investments will continue in 2021 as we proceed to recovery.”
While the economic recovery investment will continue into the new year, so will work on some larger construction projects that began in 2020.
And, of course, a whole slate of new work will be coming our way in 2021. We’ll be rolling out information on that work soon.
While we wait for the next construction season, we are going to enjoy our favorite new place, courtesy of public infrastructure construction – the plaza on Spokane Falls Boulevard across from the Downtown Library. That plaza sits above the final underground storage tank that the City constructed to manage overflows to the Spokane River from combined wastewater and stormwater sewers. Work on the tank project wrapped up this summer as part of the 2020 construction season, with crews making the final connection between the tank and the sewer system.
Quietly, that connection marked the end of a $190 million investment in the combined sewer system. The City has built about 2 dozen tanks with 16 million gallons of wastewater storage that will improve the health of our river for generations to come.
It’s a bright spot in the year that was 2020.