Spokane construction comes with hidden costs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane construction comes with hidden costs

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Businesses on Spokane's South Hill say they are unsure of how the construction will affect them. Businesses on Spokane's South Hill say they are unsure of how the construction will affect them.
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Right now part of Spokane's South Hill looks like a cone zone.  Part of Monroe is now closed and Lincoln will now be open for two way traffic for the next few months.  That work is part of a project to replace the roadway and improve sidewalks and lighting in the area. 

The work sometimes comes with a hidden cost to businesses in the area.

"I try not to think about it," says Mary Walker.  Walker owns Manito Shipping Company and she doesn't know yet how this year's construction will affect her business.  She says however past construction created hardships for her when her store was further up the hill. 

"It was the first time in years I had to sit down and really think about what bills to pay," says Walker.    

She believes this year will be different.  So far she's only noticed shipping company drivers having a difficult time with the road closures.   

"My Fed Ex people are telling me they're probably going to be earlier than they used to be because they can't seem to figure out how to get here later and not be too late." 

Justin Sexton, manager of the Ace Hardware store says the signage was a problem last year and it appears to be again this year.  "They're putting off detours all the way up to 14th where they really don't need to do that." 

On Wednesday I drove the city's detour route for southbound Monroe traffic.  It added between five to seven minutes of travel time to get to the same shopping center from downtown.   

"We have quite a bit of people roaming around through the neighborhoods trying to figure out how to get here," says John Schram, a financial planner with an office on Monroe.     

Schram says the city should be more proactive in communicating with the public. 

"Unfortunately sometimes the engineers think like engineers and they don't think like business people or neighbors in how to get to here and there," says Schram. 

He says several of the business owners and people who live in the area plan to attend some of the construction meetings for the project to have a dialogue with engineers and project managers to make sure appropriate access is maintained throughout the project's duration. 

Signs for those meetings are usually posted near businesses in the area, or you can talk to the public liason.  They are open meetings.  The next one for construction going on at Lincoln and Monroe is on Thursday, March 31st at 1:00 at Deaconess in Rm. 267. 

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