Dignitaries turn out for roundabout ribbon cutting
By Craig Howard
Vehicles moved efficiently in the background as Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson stepped to the microphone to reflect on the most talked about transportation project in the city's history.
A ribbon cutting ceremony for the Harvard Road roundabout took place Oct. 25, drawing around 50 people on a brisk mid-morning in the parking lot of True Legends, adjacent to the circular intersection.
"The project was a partnership," Peterson told the crowd. "We're going to continue to move forward and invest in infrastructure."
Keith Metcalf, WSDOT administrator for the Eastern Region, said the ribbon cutting event was about "celebrating the completion of a successful project."
"This new roundabout is really going to smooth out traffic," Metcalf said.
Work on the project began Aug. 16 and was operationally complete by Oct. 11. Traffic flowed through the busy juncture over the entire two-month span, an average of 18,000 vehicles a day.
"There's going to be an impact to the traveling public with a project like this, but traffic never stopped," said Darrel McCallum, project engineer with the Washington Department of Transportation. "I thought it went well."
George Gee, namesake of three auto dealerships just west of Harvard Road, admitted he "wasn't so sure about the roundabout" when the city first brought up the idea. Gee was one of several business owners who showed up at a roundabout open house at City Hall last spring to provide feedback and gather more information.
"We really didn't see much impact," Gee said after the ribbon cutting. "I thought they did a very good job. It's handling traffic well."
Daryl Hagseth, manager of Storage Solutions, had concerns prior to the project about "traffic flow and the roundabout getting people across the bridge and onto Harvard Road." Hagseth manages two sites near the roundabout, one on Harvard and another on Mission.
"We heard the occasional comment from customers who said they'd be glad when it was done," Hagseth said. "But we didn't have anyone say they wouldn't come see us because it wasn't done."
Hagseth said the roundabout has made the busy intersection a lot safer.
The list of attendees on Oct. 25 featured a number of local luminaries, including Spokane County Commissioner Al French, Cheney Mayor Tom Trulove, Cheney City Manager (and former Liberty Lake Finance Director and City Clerk) Arlene Fisher, Spokane Valley Fire Chief Bryan Collins and Liberty Lake Police Chief Brian Asmus.
WSDOT was part of an expansive construction team that included Wm. Winkler Co. as the primary contractor. North Star Enterprises was responsible for navigating traffic while Anderson Masonry installed the 360-degree brick wall that serves as the centerpiece of the roundabout. Mike Terrell - Landscape Architect provided the design for the structure and landscaping.
"I thought the Winkler people and WSDOT did an incredible job," Hagseth said.
Other subcontractors on the project included Inland Asphalt, Central Pre-Mix, Spokane Rock Products, Eller Corp., Porter Yett, Road Products Inc., Trecon, Colbico Electric and Ace Landscaping.
Overall cost of the project was $1,624,159, with the bulk ($953,000) covered through the Federal Surface Transportation Program. The city of Liberty Lake contributed $671,159 from the Harvard Road Mitigation Fund while WSDOT pitched in $192,629.