SPOKANE, Wash. — City of Spokane leaders discussed their plans and hopes for the upcoming 2020 construction season at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.

The city must now take into account the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic, which is causing delays in certain projects the city already has underway.

The city's plans for construction this year includes $70 million in road work, protections for the Spokane River and projects involving water and sewer systems. At least $10 million of this involves road work.

Some of the projects are considered essential, meaning crews can begin work despite Governor Jay Inslee's stay-home order.

Mayor Nadine Woodward said these projects will be a good way for the community to get back on its feet after the stay-home order.

"Typically, $1 million in public construction investment equals 10 to 20 good paying jobs in our community. So this is important now more than ever," Woodward said.

City Council President Breean Beggs echoed the economic impact this will have on the city.

"This will have a great economic impact on our city at a time we need it the mos. But, it's also a great time to work on our streets and sidewalks when less people are using them. Prices are lower, we get more lane miles to the dollar," Beggs said.

Construction crews will start with streets that see higher levels of traffic.

"We felt like, more than ever before, with the majority of people staying at home, by getting these projects out now would result in less impacts to our community," Public Works Director Scott Simmons said.

Other projects this year include upgrading traffic signals on the Hamilton corridor and wrapping up work on the sewage tanks next to the downtown library.

But because of the coronavirus crisis, the city is delaying work to East Sprague Avenue. It is not expected to be completed on time.

Also, some work needed to accommodate the North-South Corridor project is also being postponed to later in the year.

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