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Construction likely to complicate commutes in ML this summer

by CHARLES H. FEATHERSTONE
Staff Writer | May 12, 2022 1:20 AM

MOSES LAKE — Upcoming and current roadwork is going to make for interesting driving in part of Moses Lake this summer.

At a regular meeting Tuesday, the Moses Lake City Council unanimously approved awarding a $2.9 million contract to Wenatchee-based Selland Construction to tear up and redo the surface of W. Valley Road from N. Stratford Road to N. Paxson Drive.

“They are excited to get started and give us a good product,” said City Engineer Richard Law.

Law said the construction is set to begin right after Memorial Day on May 30, and is expected to take around 20 weeks. That project will overlap with the timeline when Washington State Department of Transportation road crews are busy turning the interchange of S.R. 17 and Grape Drive into a two-lane roundabout, which began on Monday.

“Have you seen the traffic there since Monday?” Council Member Judy Madewell asked Law as she brought up the start of work on the roundabout.

“Yes, it’s going to be messy for a little while,” Law replied. “We understand it’s a busy season.”

Law said construction work would not take place during this year’s Grant County Fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 16-20.

The city has no plans to close W. Valley Road, Law said. Rather, construction work will take place in four phases, with each phase closing either eastbound or westbound traffic on half the road as crews rebuild and resurface the road. Traffic will be routed around on the half of the road that is not being redone, Law explained.

Law also said as part of the work the city would be redoing the recreation path along the south side of W. Valley Road and will install a proper sidewalk along portions of the street that currently do not have them.

Council Member Deanna Martinez said she hoped that the neighborhood immediately to the south of W. Valley Road would get an extra police presence to help direct and control traffic trying to bypass the construction work.

“That neighborhood gets a lot of flowing traffic,” she said. “We need an increased police presence to make sure they are not driving through too fast.”

Moses Lake Police Chief Kevin Fuhr said that traffic on Loop Drive — which runs parallel to W. Valley Road — is the main problem the MLPD will need to focus on once the W. Valley Road work begins.

“Loop Drive is a nightmare during construction. Basically, it’s a one-lane road,” he said.

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.