Havre Daily News
The city of Havre has received $500,000 in grant funding from the state Treasure State Endowment Program to cover a portion of the costs associated with the complete replacement of water transmission lines beneath First Street. The work will be done in conjunction with the Montana Department of Transportation's First Street reconstruction project, set to begin in the spring of 2007.
The project, expected to cost between $17 and $20 million, is slated to be completed by the fall of 2008, Montana Department of Transportation district administrator Mick Johnson said. The reconstruction will be a complete revamping of the First Street corridor within the city limits, including sidewalks, curbs, landscaping and beautification, along with the replacement of all of the water, sewer and storm sewer lines beneath the pavement.
"You have to understand how big this project is," Johnson said.
The project rivals others in the state and is the largest project ever in the district, he added. The work will take place along 33 city blocks, and workers will dig trenches as deep as 15 feet in order to replace the water, sewer and storm sewer lines.
Replacing the water transmission lines will cost about $1.1 million, Bear Paw Development Corp. executive director Paul Tuss said during the Monday meeting of the Havre City Council. The TSEP funding was approved by the state Legislature this spring, he added.
The Havre City Council voted in November to raise city water and sewer rates to aid in the replacement of the lines that run beneath the thoroughfare, and Havre will contribute $15,000 the project, Tuss said. In addition, the city will receive $140,000 in loan money from the state revolving fund. MDT also will pay $495,000.
On Monday, the City Council voted to contract Bear Paw Development Corp. to administer the grant.
The fee for administering the money is $10,000, Tuss said. He added that by doing such work for the city, Bear Paw Development has been able to keep the city's annual dues low. The city pays Bear Paw Development $20,000 a year, a number that hasn't risen since 1988, Tuss said.
The city and Hill County will each be picking up part of the cost for the storm sewer replacement, expected to cost about $8 million, because the respective systems drain into MDT's system before draining into the Milk River, Havre public works director Dave Peterson said. The city's share will be about $1.3 million, or about 17 percent of the cost. Some of the city's money will come from the reserve fund, and the city is in the process of seeking additional grant or loan funding.
The county will pay about 9 percent of the cost, Peterson said.
Replacement of the sanitary sewer lines will cost the city about $690,000, Peterson said.
Council member Jack Brandon asked how drastically the project would affect Havre businesses and residents, and what the city and the state were planning to do to help.
Johnson said Tuesday the project will alter how businesses operate in Havre for those two years, but added that the state is taking extra measures to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
MDT representatives will meet with business people every Tuesday morning over coffee to update them on where the project is heading for the coming week, he said. The state will also utilize a radio station to keep residents and travelers informed about lane closures and detours. Those broadcasts also will have information on how to access specific businesses, Johnson said. MDT will develop a website with travel information, which will be very useful to trucking companies that have shipments coming through Havre, Johnson said.
There will be office space set up for a supervisor, whose job will be to serve as a liaison between businesses, residents and the workers, Johnson added.
Johnson also said the project offers an opportunity to business owners who have been putting off a renovation project.