Get ready to rubble

Downtown Sandpoint construction work on First Ave. and Cedar Street gets underway Sept. 3

By Zach Hagadone
Reader Staff

Crews led by city-contracted construction firm Sonray Enterprises will close Cedar Street from Second Avenue to First Avenue and Main Street beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3 — the first section in an estimated 13-week project to rebuild street infrastructure in the downtown core. Meanwhile, the City Parking Lot and parking areas along Sand Creek will be closed to the public as construction staging areas.

A projected timeline of construction events for the Downtown Revitalization Phase II in Sandpoint. Courtesy image.

Week 1 of the project includes the installation of a pedestrian fence and removal of street furniture, roadway asphalt and street trees. Weeks 2-3 are slated for installation of pipes and utilities followed by road construction in Weeks 3 and 4. 

The first section is planned for completion by Sept. 23, after which time crews will move on to First Avenue from Main to Church streets, with those roads closed to motorists starting Sunday, Sept. 15. Following an identical order of operations for Section 1, the roadway in Section 2 is due for construction by Week 5, which begins Monday, Sept. 30.

The remainder of the project, running from Oct. 7-Nov. 26 focuses on curbs; crosswalks; paving, striping and signage; sidewalk demolition and reconstruction; swales; pavers, planting and utilities; installation of street furniture and clean-up. Roads in Sections 1 and 2 will be reopened as single-lane beginning Oct. 30. No thru-traffic or parking from First Avenue and Church Street to Cedar Street and Second Avenue will be allowed until paving is completed after Oct. 30.

Delivery times and locations have been identified for merchants affected by the construction: 6 a.m.-8 a.m. and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Second Avenue north of Cedar Street, on Main Street east of Second Avenue, on First Avenue south of Church Street and at Gunning’s Alley.

According to construction planning documents, the Nov. 26 completion date is based on an accelerated schedule. Wrapping up the project by Thanksgiving 2019 will earn contractors a bonus, though it is not required under the terms of their agreement with the city. Lead contractor Sonray and its subcontractors have until May 14, 2020 to achieve “substantial completion,” and planning documents caution that, “Many factors may impact and change this initial schedule.”

An artist rendering of the work on First Ave.

While early completion brings with it incentives, liquidated damages are in the offing for missing the spring 2020 deadline. To accommodate the accelerated schedule, crews are tentatively slated to work 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday-Saturday each week. Planners set this phase of downtown construction to coincide with the off season — unlike the most recent round of road work, which focused on Cedar Street from Second to Fifth avenues during the summer of 2018 — to hopefully lessen the impact on the tourist trade and local summertime events.

The current phase of the project is paid for with $2.55 million in the fiscal year 2020 Sandpoint city budget, which council members approved Aug. 21. Drawn from the Capital Project Reserve Fund and including monies carried over from Phase I, project costs are to be reimbursed by the Sandpoint Urban Renewal Agency through FY2029.

Among the improvements planners intend with the project are enhanced pedestrian crossings at Main Street; stormwater treatment via planters; 50 new street trees; 50 standard parking spaces, as well as compact spaces, five ADA parking spaces and four motorcycle parking zones; three loading zones; 16 bike racks and seven new benches; new lighting at intersections; and the groundwork for a fiber internet backbone downtown.

For more information and to follow the project, which will include weekly updates and monthly public meetings, visit and click on the “Phase II” tab at the top of the page. View a video of the project kickoff presentation on YouTube: search “Downtown Revitalization Phase 2 Meeting – The Little Panida – Sandpoint, ID.” For questions, contact project manager and Sandpoint City Engineer Dan Tadic at 208-263-3577 or via email at [email protected].

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