Tuesday, September 13, 2016

City Staff Report to City Council on Possible Downtown Construction Delays

It's a race to finish an overhaul of Lincoln and Monroe streets downtown before cold weather gets here, which could put the project on hold until spring. According to the Spokesman-Review, City Council members yesterday were told there are few options to speed up the remaining 40 to 50 days of the reconstruction project, which has gotten lots of complaints from drivers through the area and even more from area businesses.

Public Works Director Scott Simmons, construction supervisors and utilities department representatives appeared before the City Council last night to see what can be done to ensure work isn't held over until next year. Some of the possibilities included closing the streets entirely or extending overtime hours.

It was pointed out though that workers already had one thousand hours of overtime due to a mess of underground pipes. The project also got started later than originally planned due to a delay in the bidding process on the project.

Simmons said the city will look at paying additional overtime, but can't force utility companies and contractors to work extra hours if conditions are unsafe. Crews are also losing much-needed hours as it starts to get dark earlier.

Fully closing the streets wouldn't pay off at this time either, according to officials, because most of the utility work was needed on only one side of the street.

Twohig is expected to brief the City Council next week on potential options for speeding construction.

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

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