‘It’s a terrible time to do it’: Restaurant owners frustrated over Hamilton Corridor construction

SPOKANE, Wash. — If you need to travel through the Hamilton Corridor near Gonzaga, you may want to give yourself some extra time.

Construction is back up and running from Desmet Avenue all the way to North Foothills Drive. The project, which started last summer, officially resumed on Monday. It’s expected to continue through the end of spring.

There are typically 30,000 cars a day that drive through the Hamilton Corridor, making it one of the busiest areas in the city.

Over the next few months, city crews will be adding dedicated left-turn pockets and signals along six intersections within the area. They’ll also add ADA-compliant ramps at all intersections between Desmet and North Foothills.  It’s a project the city says has been a long time coming and will help keep people safe behind the wheel.

“Every year we have to fix our streets and make improvements for the traveling public and it does come with inconvenience,” said Marlene Feist, Public Works Director with the City of Spokane.

It’s an inconvenience for some. For Sergio De Leon, Owner of De Leon’s Taco and Bar, it’s much more than that.

“Anytime construction happens it always slows down business. They shut down lanes and there’s traffic that people have to go around,” De Leon said.

Traffic he fears will stop people from visiting the area altogether.

“I feel a little bad for the other small businesses down the street that only rely on that one business,” said De Leon.

Businesses like Our Thai House Restaurant between Hamilton and Mission, who like so many, are just trying to get by during this pandemic.

“As soon as you start all that construction and people don’t want to drive in the area volume decreases,” said Jim Bess, Owner, Our Thai House Restaurant.

Regardless, those with the city say this project has been a long time coming.

“For a long time our citizens have asked for the ability to make left turns easier, especially during commute times,” said Feist.

They’re doing this by adding dedicated left turn pockets and signals along six intersections within the Hamilton Corridor. They’ll also add ADA-compliant ramps at all intersections between Desmet and North Foothills.

“In the end it’s about keeping our system operating and functional for our community,” said Feist.

A community De Leon and Bess hope will continue showing up.

“If you can get out and support local businesses regardless of who they are, help them if you can,” said Bess.

During construction hours there will only be one lane open in each direction. City employees say the project should be finished by June.