HELENA – People traveling on Lake Helena Drive in the next month will want to plan ahead for significant construction near East Helena.
Work will typically be done from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and crews may work some weekends.
People should expect up to 20 minute delays if traveling through the intersection and are encouraged to take alternate routes if possible.
The purpose of the project is to make a major overhaul to intersection of Lewis Street and Lake Helena to fix drainage issues and level out the large dip in the intersection.
“As many people that drive the road know, this intersection gets a lot of water going through it if we get rain or snow melt and it kind of turns into a bit of a pond,” said Dan Karlin, Lewis and Clark County Engineer. “We’re trying to address that with re-configuring how the drain system works.”
Karlin said the plan is to remove the large drain dip at the intersection and install a curb and gutter storm drain system with pipe culverts.
Crews from Bullock Contracting will be setting up this week by Eastgate Elementary with work expected to begin Monday July 8.
The project was made possible through HB473 BARSAA funds which was passed by the 2017 Montana Legislature.
“That had allocated additional gas tax funds to counties and cities, and this is the first project we’re tackling with that [money]. Even though they’re smaller bites, we’re able to tackle some of those projects that we’ve been wanting to do for quite some time and haven’t had the funding to be able to accomplish it,” noted Karlin.
Karlin said all major work will be finished before school starts this August.
“That was a primary focus. We wanted to make sure the school operation wasn’t interrupted or disrupted with construction,” added Karlin.
The drainage ditch near the intersection will also be deepened and widened to better accommodate the flow of water.
Detours will be posted and the County asks the public to please obey all speed limits, signs and traffic control workers.
Valley Drive and Wylie Drive in East Helena are good alternative routes to avoid the construction. People can also use Spokane Creek Road as an option to get to Canyon Ferry.
The project is coordinated with Montana Department of Transportation to accommodate a planned pedestrian trail between Eastgate Elementary and East Valley Middle School.