HELENA — East Helena School District is working on a project with the Montana Department of Transportation to connect Prickly Pear Elementary to East Valley Middle School through a sidewalk on Lewis Street.
“What we are trying to do is support infrastructure throughout the community of East Helena, so kids have safe routes to be able to walk to school, so sidewalks instead of walking on the street,” said Dan Rispens, Superintendent of the East Helena School District.
Rispens says this project is thanks to a Transportation Alternatives Program Grant and is just one of many projects the school district has done to make roads around the schools.
The school district completed one project that connects East Valley Middle School to Radley Elementary and another sidewalk that connects EVMS to Eastgate Elementary.
With the Lewis Street project, more than 1,000 students will be able to walk to and from school and their homes.
“So with this project, all of our campuses will be connected with sidewalks or recreational trails that are separate from traffic,” said Rispens.
Superintendent Rispens says that although no one has been hurt, there have been a few close calls.
“We have had issues in the past. As I said, no tragedies, but we have had a few close calls, and we had some situations that were dangerous, and traffic continues to be an issue with all the growth out here,” said Rispens.
Rispens says that they hope to have the sidewalk project completed by the summer of 2023 and Lewis and Clark County will oversee maintenance of the sidewalks.