The Ritzville Adams County Journal - Eastern Adams County's Only Independent Voice Since 1887

By Brandon Cline
Managing Editor 

Infrastructure the focus at Ritzville City Council meeting


A fairly brief Ritzville City Council meeting on June 11 turned attention away from the ongoing process for the proposed memory care center and nuisance ordinance ‘show cause’ hearings, and toward infrastructure developments and potential future projects in the city.

The meeting kicked off with the council unanimously approving the payment of $333,413.97 to Wm. Winkler Company, the construction crew that was hired for the recently completed 1st Avenue Rehabilitation Project from Jackson Street to Clark Street. To date, the council has approved two payments to Wm. Winkler for a total of $407,700.90 for the project, which was completed ahead of schedule.

The council then discussed the City’s priority projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program’s (STIP) six-year plan. The projects currently on the City’s list includes:

-1st Avenue Project, Phase Three, Division Street to Palouse Street: The project includes grinding and replacing four inches of asphalt on the roads, similar to a project from Palouse Street to Chelan Street that was funded several years ago by the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB), according to councilmember Scott Yaeger. Yaeger said the asphalt on that stretch of road has gotten pretty bad, thanks in part to increased semi-truck traffic.

-Weber Avenue and Galbreath Way Project: The project includes constructing a sidewalk on the east side of Galbreath Way.

-Main Avenue Project, from Adams Street to the western city limits: The project would cover up the patching from a water line project in 2013.

-Division Street, Phase Two, 6th Avenue to 10th Avenue: The project would reconstruct the sidewalks and install ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

-1st Avenue, Clark Street to Weber Road: The goals of the project would be similar to the recently completed Jackson Street to Clark Street project, which addressed sidewalk reconstruction and road improvements.

Regarding the recently completed 1st Avenue Project from Jackson Street to Clark Street, Ritzville police chief Dave McCormick told the council that the police department, the public works department and the construction company need to be more in sync and coordinated the next time a project requires a detour. McCormick said he was parked down by the detour every day, and noted that a day didn’t go by where he didn’t see a vehicle violate the detour.

McCormick said there were instances where the ‘road closed’ signs on 1st Avenue would be moved to the side of the road so a construction vehicle could get by, the signs weren’t immediately put back into the correct spot, and cars would then try and go through the construction zone.

He also said that, in hindsight, the speed limit through the detour should have been 10 mph, rather than 25 mph. The newly implemented temporary stop signs on 2nd Avenue that were put in place just for the detour also seemed to cause confusion to drivers. “The people of Ritzville are not used to having a stop sign on 2nd Avenue, even though the stop signs were in the middle of the road for a while. And then people just moved them out of the way,” said McCormick.

He believed that the problems with the detour could be solved with a little bit of planning between all the parties beforehand.

In other news, Ritzville fire chief Joel Bell announced that the recently purchased fire truck from Walla Walla County had been picked up and is now at the fire station. It will remain out of commission until it has the necessary licenses and insurance. It was also announced that an estimated 580 people attended the annual pancake breakfast put on by the Ritzville Volunteer Fire Department on Memorial Day.

Councilmember Michelle Plumb said the City should be receiving a quote soon from the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) for Interstate 90 signage. She said WSDOT didn’t see any problems with the City’s signage plans at first glance.


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