Road, sewer projects fill city’s fall

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(Photo by MARY MALONE) The sewer project on First Avenue is one of several topics covered by the city's public works director, Ryan Luttmann, during last weeks Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

SANDPOINT — The intersection of First Avenue, Church and Bridge streets has been the source of some confusion as an offset, four-way yield.

"We are not done with this intersection," said Ryan Luttmann, the city's public works director, during the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon last week.

As the city's sewer main replacement on First Avenue was set to get underway, a traffic count was done on the First, Church and Bridge intersection at the end of August, Luttmann said. Century West Engineering, the city's design consultant on the downtown revitalization project, will come back to city officials with some improvement suggestions for the area, he said.

Luttmann also addressed several other projects happening in the city, including the downtown revitalization project and the Schweitzer Cutoff bridge and roundabout project.

The sewer main replacement is part of the larger downtown revitalization project. Cedar Street improvements were originally scheduled to begin this past June, but as the only bid for the project came in higher than the budgeted cost for construction. The sewer replacement was included in those estimates, and after turning down the bid, city officials decided to separate the sewer from the rest of the project, and save the Cedar Street improvements for the summer of 2018.

Construction for the sewer replacement is scheduled to be complete and the roadway paved and striped by Oct. 20. Until that time, traffic detours will be in place downtown.

The Schweitzer Cutoff bridge replacement is a joint project between the cities of Ponderay and Sandpoint. The majority of the bridge project is funded by federal dollars, which it qualified for due to an extremely low sufficiency rating. The cities are responsible for a 15-percent match, or 7.5 percent each. The roundabout is Sandpoint's addition to the project and is funded by the city. With the project well underway, the roundabout is scheduled for completion Nov. 3, Luttmann said, and the bridge should be ready for traffic around Nov. 10.

Toward the end of his presentation, Luttmann moved away from the streets to discuss the city's wastewater treatment plant, which will soon see some changes. With new permit requirements going into effect, the decision will revolve around whether to expand the plant on-site, or build a new plant on another site. The plant is currently located on the river adjacent to Lakeview Park and War Memorial Field.

The city recently received a $65,000 planning grant from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to prepare a wastewater planning study. The study will evaluate the current wastewater treatment system and identify needed improvements to address new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements.

Luttmann said the city has "roughly" two years to decide whether to expand on-site or move the facility. Then, if the decision is to stay and expand, the city will have about two years to do so.

"If we build a new facility, I believe we have seven years for that process," Luttmann said.

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

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