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You Ask: What’s With the Half-Fixed Rough Ride on Spokane and Portland?

Months of seemingly partially-completed road work and rough conditions have left travelers of Spokane Avenue and a nearby section of Portland wondering what's up.

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If you’ve driven along Spokane Avenue near , or travelled Portland Avenue just east of Key Route Boulevard, chances are you’ve noticed the strangely raw road conditions.

Fresh asphalt patches smear the older roadway, making for a bumpy ride.

What’s more, the seemingly half-done roadwork has been around for months, causing several residents to what gives.

Does a budget-crunched city consider this repaving job done, one person ponders.

Yes, the city is budget-crunched, but no, the roadwork on the 600 and 700 blocks of Spokane, and on Portland from Masonic Avenue to Key Route isn’t finished, said , Albany's Public Works director.

In fact, it's pausing mid-major work. 

Here’s the deal:

The East Bay Municipal Utility District completed some much-needed water main replacement underneath these stretches of street a few weeks ago, explained Cunningham.

Sensing a money-saving possibility, the city asked the utility district if it might pitch in for the cost of eventual major street repaving, said Greg Jacobs, an engineering consultant to the city who oversees .

This allows the city to get under the roadways while they're still in construction-zone-mode for some much-needed sewer line replacements, then do a final repaving with help from East Bay MUD, Jacobs said.

The utility said sure, and the city is now seeking bids for the sewage work, hoping to seal the deal in late April, with all construction completed in summer. Meanwhile, it required East Bay MUD to put temporary asphalt patching on its holes.  

This is the same arrangement the city made with East Bay MUD for recent work on San Gabriel Avenue, Jacob said. The utility kicked in about $14,000 for that repaving.

“I’m not sure many citizens know the beauty of what we did,” Jacobs reflected.

The city has also invited PG&E to join the Spokane/Portland venture and take care of any underground gas line work on its to-do list.

No word back yet from the power company, Jacobs said, adding that it may never reply, but the city won’t wait.

“If we could get all underground utilities replaced before we pave the street, that would be ideal," he said. "But it doesn’t always work out that way."

The city has a five-year moratorium on work after a repaving job, unless it’s an emergency, he adds.

For drivers, Spokane/Portland road conditions will get worse again during the sewage work, before they get better, he warned.

The city is distributing a flier to residents explaining the situation. A copy is attached to this story as a PDF. 

Via the PDF: "If you notice any potholes forming around the temporary trenches, please call Public Works at 524-9543 to let us know, and we will repair them. For project information, please contact Greg Jacobs or Scott Jacobs, at 510-918-2322 or 510-417-0037."

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email her at albany@patch.com.

Devin Ratoosh March 08, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thank you for the information. This has been unfolding right in front of my home for what has felt like forever. Good to know there is a plan in place.
Mary Rees March 08, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Thank you, Kate, for getting to the bottom of this. However, the work on Spokane and Portland was completed and the asphalt poured at least three months ago, not a few weeks ago. How time flies!
Tim Q. Cannon March 08, 2012 at 05:51 PM
yes..in fact I did ask!
Catherine (Kate) Rauch March 08, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Wow, three months of weeks - thanks for the clarification. This is a long time.
Judy Kerr March 09, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Could someone please clarify what is meant by the phrase "pot hole forming in temporary trench"? I believe that this phrase could accurately describe the entirety of the 3 blocks of Spokane Avenue. However, we need to know when we reach "pot hole formation confirmation" to be certain. To be clear the street is bumpy, rough, and prone to throwing asphalt pebbles at pedestrians and parked vehicles. And oh yeah, then there are the pot holes.

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