Since April 2, drivers have had to alter course when driving on North Monroe in Spokane; the road has been closed between Indiana and Kiernan avenues. No more. This morning, Spokane Mayor David Condon and city councilwoman Karen Stratton moved the barriers and reopened a renovated Monroe Street.
After a little more than five months of construction, detours and rerouted traffic, things will return to normal for the businesses affected by the closure of North Monroe. The project included reducing the street from five traffic lanes to three, while widening lanes and sidewalks.
Mayor Condon addressed the crowd before the barriers were removed.
“The street’s new three-lane section will meet our citizens’ traffic needs and will help reduce speeding in the area," said Condon. "All the while, Monroe businesses will benefit from improved parking and improved pedestrian access to their businesses, while we balance that need, obviously, with through traffic.”
Councilwoman Stratton praised the contractors’ cooperation with local businesses.
“I also want to mention that as I was up and down Monroe talking to businesses, the thing I heard over and over again was the calm they felt," Stratton said. "That if they had a problem or concern, they could literally walk out their door, grab a construction worker, and ask, 'could you do this,' or 'could you help me with that?'”
The $9 million project finished a month before expectations. The city broke it into two construction contracts with both projects occurring concurrently. Murphy Brothers Construction handled the south side of the project, while the north side was handled by Red Diamond.
“Inspectors have already told me which side is better, but I bet I won’t be able to tell the difference,” Condon joked.
After the short ceremony, Condon and Stratton removed the signs blocking the road and the first car drove by.