By Martin J. Kidston
As the tourist season winds down, A-1 Paving and the Montana Department of Transportation are gearing up to complete the first two phases of the Havre-West Project before the onset of winter.
The project, intended to widen and improve a three-mile stretch of Highway 2, has been divided into three phases. The first two phases should be competed by winter, while phase three will not begin until next year, engineering manager Gary Berg said.
Were hoping to get phase two done so traffic can get back on the highway before winter shutdown, Berg said. Were going to start graveling phase one next week, and leave the existing pavement down through winter.
Berg said phase one extends from the junction at Highway 87 down to the Second Street turnoff. Phase two extends from Second Street to 19th Avenue West, while phase three extends from that point and runs east, ending at Fleet Wholesale.
If the project remains on schedule, Berg said he believes phase two will be completed by winter and motorists will no longer have to use the detour to skirt town. However, with phase one in winter limbo, motorists heading west will be restricted to the original road surface until next year, at which point the highway will open up to four lanes.
A-1 Paving of Kalispell was award the $5.7 million project this summer. The two-year project includes aligning the entrance to the Holiday Village Shopping Mall with 19th Avenue West. A traffic light will be installed at the new intersection, and street lights and sidewalks will be added. However, Berg said the electrical work will not begin until next season.