The Little Spokane River is fed by a generous watershed which contributes meltwaters, freshets, the aquifer, and smaller streams to its wellbeing. Eventually and continuously its watershed contributes to the even larger Spokane and Columbia Rivers’ watersheds. Our namesake LSR meanders and wanders a lot as it moves through our organization’s namesake valley. Bridges, some large, most small dot the landscape.
The Little Spokane River has several two-lane bridges crossing over the river’s path it takes from its source near Newport to far downstream at its confluence with the Spokane River near the Spokane House. Locally the bridges at Dartford, Golden Rd, and Wandermere have been replaced. Other bridges are awaiting their turn. It is time, maybe past time, for this to happen. Spokane County is focused on its replacement plans for three local bridges, including Colbert Rd. Bridge Funding.
Recently, Mike Duke, PE, Bridge Program Manager for Spokane County Public Works, informed residents living near Colbert Road Bridge #3703, located just east of where Colbert Rd. intersects with Little Spokane Dr, that preliminary survey work was scheduled this Fall for the bridge’s planned replacement in 2026/2027.
The FLSRV Board of Directors invited Mr. Duke to our October meeting to learn more, and to share our concerns about pedestrian safety (or lack of) when attempting to cross any of these older bridges designed for cars, not pedestrians. Currently our trail pathways lead up to bridges where the “crossing over places” take a backward step regarding safe passage. We asked the engineer if there were any grant possibilities that might help fund the design and construction of future bridges for cars and pedestrians. Mike informed the board of possible resources and grant information to pursue. (Wandermere, Dartford and Golden Road bridges are pedestrian friendly.)
We are pleased to learn that future re- placement bridges will reflect the county’s understanding of the importance of river/human interchange. Connection and respect for the river is obscured when there is no visibility. To date, only the Wandermere Bridge allows this connectivity with its open concrete railings. Bridges will all be designed so the river is visible through the railings.
Our board meeting with Mike Duke closed with both relief and appreciation that the county and the FLSRV community share the same aspirations and values.