Martin Luther King Way should finally see completion

Martin Luther King Way should finally see completion
City of Spokane

Another major road construction project, and another roundabout, are coming soon.

Beginning Monday, Trent Avenue between Hamilton and Helena streets will be closed through early September for work to build a roundabout at Trent and Perry Street. This work will create the easternmost terminus of Martin Luther King Jr. Way that cuts through the University District.

About 11,000 drivers use Trent Avenue east of downtown daily, meaning this could be a disruptive project for commuters during the next year.

The new road will link downtown with the East Central neighborhood, creating a connection between two areas the city has invested in heavily recently – East Sprague and the University District.

Planning documents show that the extension will have one lane in each direction, a raised median and 5-foot bike lanes on either side.

The project also includes continuing the Ben Burr Trail to the Spokane River, where it will meet the Centennial Trail near the Don Kardong Bridge that crosses the river to Gonzaga University.

The project cost is $3.7 million and is funded through a mix of federal, state (through SRTC) and local dollars. This year’s work will finish the construction of MLK Way.

Before the project can happen though, the city has to go to court to start eminent domain proceedings condemning a piece of land owned by Ron Brown who owns Brown Building Materials. The planned route for MLK Way goes through Brown’s parking lot on the west side of the building. However, the city negotiated with Brown for years without reaching an agreement.

The City was offering about $35,000 and Brown was asking $1.9 million for his entire property.

The City does have an alternate route around the property if necessary.

Brown says he is concerned about the ability of freight trucks to safely deliver supplies with the increase in traffic the new road will bring.