Sewer project closes part of First Avenue

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) First Avenue south of Pine Street closed down Wednesday at the city's sewer replacement project commenced.

SANDPOINT — Traffic along First Avenue was detoured Wednesday as the road south of Pine Street shut down for the city's sewer main replacement project.

The sewer main runs along First Avenue from south of Lake Street to north of Church Street. The sewer is approximately twelve feet deep, requiring traffic detours during construction.

"The contractor and engineer will work closely with First Avenue businesses to minimize disruption," officials said in a statement Wednesday.

Wednesday's construction work began the first phase of the sewer line replacement between Lake and Pine streets, according to the statement. During this phase, traffic will detour down Superior Street to Third Avenue and up to Pine Street. Pine Street traffic will be able to turn north on First Avenue but not south.

The second phase of the project will continue on First Avenue from Pine Street to just north of Church Street. During this phase, traffic will be detoured off of First Avenue at Pine Street and at Bridge and Church streets.

The intersection at First Avenue, Bridge and Church streets will remain open during construction to provide access to City Beach, Amtrak Train Station and business and residences located along Sand Creek, according to the statement. Sidewalks will remain open so the public can access businesses along First Avenue.

Project construction is scheduled to be complete and the roadway paved and striped by Oct. 20. During construction, city officials encourage truck traffic on Highway 95 traveling west on Highway 2 to use the bypass to the north Highway 2 exit and avoid downtown.

The sewer project was originally designed in conjunction with the city's downtown revitalization project, but the majority of that work was nixed until next year after the only project bid came in higher than expected. After a decision was made to separate the sewer replacement from the Cedar Street improvements, City Council approved a bid by Earthworks Northwest, Inc.,

the sewer replacement at a cost of $515,804.

"I believe that was a good decision and why I feel we have a better project bid moving forward, looking at that revitalization opportunity by replacing the sewer now," said Ryan Luttmann, the city's public works director, in August. "By replacing the sewer now, what this means is next spring we are still on track to re-bid what's already designed for Cedar from Fifth to Second."

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydaily.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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