Cheney Free Press -

By John McCallum
Managing Editor 

Council approves Washington Street repaving contract


Last updated 7/1/2021 at 8:20am

CHENEY – The City Council has approved a contract with Shamrock Paving to begin work on one of the city’s larger street projects this summer.

The Washington Street Preservation project will remove the old asphalt and repave Washington from Oakland to 6th Street along with sidewalk and stormwater system improvements. Shamrock was the lowest of three bidders at $752,515, not including taxes, with the engineer’s estimate at $905,000.

“It’s right around where we want to be,” Public Works Director Todd Ableman told the council at their June 9 meeting.

Ableman added the bid amount left about $15,000 of federal funding for the project still on the table, but that this could be used up in “either running extra quantities or doing something to that end.” He added he was surprised at the range of the bids, with Inland Asphalt the highest at $1.04 million, followed by Poe Asphalt at $948,648, but added “sometimes companies will throw in a courtesy bid just to keep the others honest.”

“Shamrock left a lot on the table on this one,” Ableman said. He added in response to a question from Councilman Paul Schmidt that the city’s match was 10 percent higher than usual, 24.4 percent, rather than a more standard 13.5 percent.

The total amount of federal funding was $731,000 for the project, including engineering and construction. Ableman said they could ask the federal government for a lower percentage match.

“It might be worth asking for, during the current circumstances,” Councilman John Taves said.

Council also approved another, albeit smaller, asphalt project at the city’s Utility Building. The Light Department received two quotes for sealcoating the lot, with Arrow Concrete and Asphalt Specialties submitting the lowest bid at $19,995, not including taxes.

Light Department Director Steve Marx said the bid includes the entire 92,000 square foot lot, in front and rear of the building. The quote does not address issues with the nearby Recycling Center lot.

Finally, council also unanimously agreed to enter into an agreement with Avista Utilities to receive power from the Bonneville Power Administration via 115,000 volt lines owned by Avista. The utility bought lines serving Cheney’s substations on Cheney-Plaza and Jensen roads between Four Lakes in 2018, but no formal agreement had been established between it and the city.

Marx said the agreement is a standard document Avista asks others receiving power to sign, but with some items that are not pertinent to Cheney’s circumstances. There was the possibility some of those issues, such as needing to dig at an Avista substation where Cheney has equipment, could come up later, so Marx said it was recommended by city attorney Stanley Schwartz to remove those conditions and addressed in the future through amendments.

“We need something in place because we are using their equipment,” Marx added.

Taves said BPA has been trying to divest themselves of low voltage equipment for years and focus solely on high voltage transmission, one of the reasons for the sale of lines to Avista.

John McCallum can be reached at

Author Bio

John McCallum, Managing Editor

John McCallum is an award-winning journalist who has been with the Cheney Free Press for over 20 years. He has received 10 Washington Newspaper Publisher Association awards for journalism and photography, including first place awards for Best Investigative, Best News and back-to-back awards in Best Breaking News categories. He has been serving as editor of the Spokane Valley News Herald since March 2020.

Phone: 509-235-6184
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