Marlene Feist

Investing in Public Infrastructure

Marlene Feist, Public Works Director, 509.625.6505

Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 5:10 p.m.

As sure as the crocuses and daffodils, the orange construction signs and traffic cones signal spring—and the annual start of construction season.

Some local business and property owners, local media members, and City staff gathered on Sprague Avenue near the south landing of the University District Gateway Bridge to talk about the 2021 City projects that will help improve streets for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians; protect the Spokane River; and support the City’s critical water and sewer systems.

Some $70 million in new and continuing work will improve public infrastructure around the City and create jobs in the construction industry—about 10 to 20 of those good-paying jobs for each $1 million in construction.

Improved public infrastructure also helps to drive private investment. That impressive bridge in the University District, along with years of street improvements from the new MLK Way to rehabilitation of Sprague Avenue, are creating new interest and new projects. On April 19, the latest Sprague Avenue project, from Grant to Division, will complete work on the corridor from Division to nearly Altamont.

Lars Gilberts, the CEO of the University District, told those gathered that there is $100 million in private construction will get under way this year in the district, including 600 units of housing. The new homes are expected to welcome 1,000 new residents to the area. That’s economic growth during a time when it’s most needed.

The City’s work for the year will stretch well beyond Sprague Avenue, of course.

Bicyclists and pedestrians will benefit from the build out of the Centennial Trail through West Central along Summit Boulevard, new sidewalk on North River Drive from Division to Washington that will lead to the new east entrance of Riverfront Park, and the repair of the north suspension pedestrian bridge in the park itself.

We’ll see the Post Street Bridge replacement project accelerate, more work on the Hamilton corridor in Logan neighborhood, and the completion of the South Gorge Trail and Clarke Avenue water line replacement in Peaceful Valley.

An exciting series of projects to manage stormwater from what’s called the Cochran Basin also begins this year. The Cochran Basin is the largest stormwater basin in the City that sends between 350 million and 500 million gallons of stormwater to the Spokane River annually. In 2022, the City will rebuild TJ Meenach Drive from the bridge to Northwest Boulevard as part of this work.

Those are just some of the highlights, of course. We’ll have our traditional slate of grind and overlay work, water system work, and more.

All of that adds up to an economic boost as our community turns to “recovery and renewal” as the Mayor puts it.

More information on construction is found on our website.

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