It took a little bit more time and work, but the city of Spokane Valley is getting a better deal in hiring a consultant to study the Barker Road/Trent Avenue railroad crossing.
The City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday night for the city manager to negotiate a contract with David Evans and Associates in the amount of $172,535 for design services for phase 1 of the project, which would eventually separate Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks from Barker Road.
That amount – which will be paid through federal and state grants -- is significantly down from the $600,000 the council was asked to contribute in January. That motion failed in a 3-3 tie.
After that, alternative grade-separation plans came forward that were less expensive than the original “diamond” interchange concept.
The city has a federal earmark grant of $719,921 and recently received a $1.5 million “Connecting Washington” grant for the grade-separation project, which is intended to make the intersection safer and relieve traffic congestion during peak hours.
The Barker Road project is just one of several long-gestating “Bridging the Valley” undertakings that would eventually grade separate other crossings, including at Pines, Park and Vista roads.
Tony Lazanis, a former motel operator on Trent Avenue who spearheaded efforts to make safety improvements at the University Road crossing, disagreed on Tuesday that Barker Road should be the city’s focus at this time.
“I think you have to look at Pines or Park first and not Barker,” he said.
Under the contract with DEA, the firm will analyze and compare five alternatives in terms of cost, right-of-way needs, impact to other properties, ease of construction and safety, along with other factors.
In other news, the council decided to delay until a future meeting the final approval of a new sidewalk snow-removal policy for property owners. While the proposed ordinance – which would require sidewalks to be cleared in 48 hours to avoid a fine – received a council first-reading OK on Aug. 8, there are still details to be worked out before it comes back to council, said Deputy Mayor Arne Woodard.