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City Council Discusses Interstate 90 Improvements through Liberty Lake

in Featured/Government and Politics/Traffic and Roads

Last week, we reported that the Washington state legislature approved $20.7 million for I-90 improvements through Liberty Lake.

“Awesome! When will they get started?”

Not so fast. The road to project kick-off is still under construction.

First, the governor needs to sign the bill into law. As of today, HB 1160 is on the governor’s desk awaiting signature.  If Governor Inslee fails to sign and does not veto the bill, it may still become law.

Next, the City of Liberty Lake and Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) have some work ahead of them before breaking ground.

Here is what is known and what the City of Liberty Lake is working to define.

Known:

  • Improvements are needed at Barker Road, Henry Road, and Harvard Road.
  • A year ago, City of Liberty Lake retained lobbyist to get these projects funded.
  • The project includes:
    • Harvard Road Northbound Bridge Widening
    • Harvard Road Westbound Ramp Extension
    • Barker Road at Cataldo Roundabout
    • Henry Road Overpass from Country Vista to Mission (no on/off ramps)
  • The project will be managed by WSDOT. They will control timeline, budget, and construction management.
  • WSDOT considers this one project and has yet to complete the project plan and contract.
  • According to WSDOT, I-90/Barker to Harvard – Improve Interchanges project is estimated at $26.9 million.
  • Per HB 1160, the City of Liberty lake is responsible to pay any amount over $20.7 million
    • The connecting Washington account appropriation for the improvements that fall within the city of Liberty Lake may only be expended if the city of Liberty Lake agrees to cover any project costs above the $20,900,000 of state appropriation provided for the total project in LEAP Transportation Document 2019-1 as developed April 27, 2019, Program – Highway Improvements (I).
  • Current estimated cost to Liberty Lake is $6.2 million.
  • There is no cap on overages and Liberty Lake has no say in the final amount besides managing the scope.
  • Supporters included: City of Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Fire Department, Central Valley School District, Spokane Transit, Spokane Regional Transportation Council

Unknown:

  • Will the Liberty Lake City Council approve the WSDOT contract without knowing the total project cost?
  • Will Liberty Lake be able to find savings to reduce costs?
  • What will the financial strategy be to pay for this expenditure?
  • Will Spokane Valley contribute to the project since a portion of the project is located within Spokane Valley limits?
  • Will any of the other supporters contribute to the cost?
  • Will a project of this scope require Liberty Lake to put other planned projects on hold?

This week, City Council touched on some of these questions. It will take further discussions and discovery before they can answer all the questions.

Click here to watch the council discuss the I-90/Barker to Harvard – Improve Interchanges project.

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