Havre Daily News Staff
Two temporary stop signs were installed on Fifth Avenue Thursday morning by the Montana Department of Transportation at the request of Havre Mayor Bob Rice, during Wednesday's US-2 public meeting. With heavy construction currently making First Street difficult to traverse, Second Street has become the new main thoroughfare, Rice said. The new traffic pattern led to long waits and safety issues where it crossed Fifth Avenue uncontrolled. "The number of cars traveling on First Street were previously estimated by MDT to be about a million a year going through town, back when I started looking at the relation to economic development in Havre," Rice said. "We had, during the course of the four years leading up to the highway construction, been talking that if we could get 10 percent of travelers to stop in Havre that would be a real economic boost, so that is where that number comes from. "If you defer some of that traffic, because some are still trying to get Through on First Street, well, the estimate is that 3,000 to 4,000 cars a day are now traveling down Second Street," Rice added. "I was receiving a great deal of complaints from the public that at Fifth Avenue where Second Street crosses people were sitting for a along time before being able to cross, because the construction has basically turned Second Street into our main street. I talked to the Chamber folks who sit right on that corner and I talked to people across the street at McLean's Grocery, and they said that traffic was backing way up, so we made the request for the temporary stop signs. We hope this will alleviate the difficulties and make it safer." Currently, the plan is for the stop signs to remain at Second and Fifth until construction is complete in the fall, however Rice said he plans to continue to keep an eye on the traffic patterns. Once people get used to traveling a certain route, they may continue in the habit of using Second Street as their normal route.