Kramer overpass officially opens
Last updated 9/14/2023 at 3:48pm
LIBERTY LAKE – A project that has been in the works for years has finally been completed.
The city of Liberty Lake along with several speakers ushered in the new overpass during a ribbon cutting ceremony held on Sept. 9 at 21200 E. Country Vista Drive.
President of the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce, Lance Beck welcomed guests and introduced the key speakers.
According to Mayor Cris Kaminskas, the funding for this project was secured through the 2015 connecting Washington funding package and was part of a $16 billion infrastructure investment.
She also said this specific project cost $14 million, and that the city did not go into debt to fund any of it.
"The city has contributed $6 million through various means, not necessarily cash," Kaminskas said. "With the state contributing the rest."
"It's important to note the city did not go into debt for this project," she added.
She also said partnerships with the Central Valley School District and the Spokane Valley Fire Department were essential in making this project happen.
Kaminskas said the overpass will help the community in a multitude of ways.
"This bridge will serve many purposes," Kaminskas said. "It creates better connectivity and access and improves public safety by ensuring faster response times by departments."
"It will also relieve some traffic congestion at our busiest intersections in town," she added.
Kaminskas also said it can also bring new economic development and boost the surrounding land value.
"This future activity will increase our sales tax base," Kaminskas said. "Which is what Liberty Lake does most of our work with."
"And that will help keep your property taxes low, and increase the value of the surrounding land," she added.
Kaminskas also said one of the biggest things to celebrate is the fact that the north and south sides of the community are now more well connected.
Todd Trepanier, Regional Coordinator for the Washington State Department of Transportation, said the bridge was built with modern needs in mind.
"When you look at this structure, you'll see it's not the conventional type of bridge that you see," Trepanier said. "This is embracing the concept of active transportation."
"There are separate paths on either side, and wider sidewalks to accommodate multiple modes of transportation," he added.
Senator Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, said this project has been a long time coming, and will bring major improvements to the area.
"The benefit to the police and fire departments are invaluable," said Padden. "This means they can respond more efficiently."
Padden also said the project will help relieve some transportation issues with Central Valley School District, which was further elaborated on by Superintendent John Parker.
"What's really fascinating to me is I look right over here and I see Ridgeline, and I look behind us over there and there's Selkirk," Parker said. "These two schools specifically will be benefitting from this."
Parker said the connections this project will bring are extremely significant as well.
According to Parker the symbolism of the project matched up very well with a book passage he had read.
"Bridges are symbols of human ingenuity and connection," Parker. "They span not only physical chasms but also the vast expanse of our collective potential to unite, transcend obstacles, and build pathways to a more interconnected community."
Bus times will be significantly reduced for kids going to those two schools according to Parker, which is a much-needed improvement.
Spokane Valley Fire Chief Frank Soto Jr. stepped up to the microphone to explain how much the fire department will benefit from the overpass.
"From the fire department's perspective, I will say that we are probably benefitting the most out of this and we are very grateful," Soto said. "Our mission is about quality of life and saving lives and property."
Soto said he is a big fan of numbers and statistics, and he said without the connection it can take over 10 minutes sometimes to get to certain areas.
According to Soto the roadway will greatly increase the efficiency of public safety response, and in turn that means the community wins in the end.
"Time is muscle," Soto said. "Whether someone is having a stroke or heart attack, those minutes are precious as the body's cells are dying."
"Every minute counts," he added.
Soto also said that emergency calls have gone up by over 50 percent, and paired with the residential growth the departments need faster routes so they can provide the level of service they aim to.
After the speakers were finished, dozens of community members rode bikes, walked, and drove golf carts across the overpass to celebrate the roadway.