By Tim Leeds
A 4-year-old street plan, similar to one that's been on the books for 30 years, is becoming a reality in Havre.
The Montana Department of Transportation on April 18 will discuss a plan to build a new street from the Fifth Avenue-South Dell Street intersection over to the south end of 12th Avenue, then rebuilding 12th Avenue to Eighth Street, and Eighth Street to 14th Avenue.
Havre director of public works Dave Peterson said today that the project will be paid for with money the state allocates for construction or repair of urban routes.
But more money will have to be raised to build new sewer and water infrastructure along the route, so it won't have to be torn up and rebuilt later, Peterson said.
"That's going to be a big factor, having money to put in the utilities," he said.
Peterson said the city has some grants to cover $500,000 of the water part of the project, which was estimated to cost about $1.2 million. The rest will have to be raised from other sources, like grants or city reserves, he said.
Additional right of way is needed for the construction, but Peterson said most of the route, which will run past HRDC's new offices in the old Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd building and parallel Bullhook Road, is on undeveloped property. Obtaining the right of way shouldn't be difficult, he said.
Peterson said the plan has been in the works for about four years. It mirrors a project that's been in the city's comprehensive plan for more than 30 years.
Gerry Grabofsky, former assistant city engineer, said Havre conducted studies from about 1967 to 1971 about creating a loop from Havre's east end out to Highland Park and eventually linking with U.S. Highway 87 west of Havre. The plan has been in the city's comprehensive plan since 1971.
Grabofsky said the city went as far as obtaining an 80-foot right of way between Lila Drive and South Dell for the planned loop.
Peterson said there are no plans to extend the loop out to Highway 87, at least not in the next 10 to 20 years.
The original plan was created when Havre expected a lot of growth, which hasn't happened, Peterson said. Right now the city is just looking at completing the southeast part of the loop.
MDT estimates construction of the project to begin late in 2006, depending on funding being available and completion of the planning.
The MDT public meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Havre City Hall Council Chambers Room.