HELENA — The coronavirus is not stopping a number of public works projects planned in the Helena Valley from moving forward.
On Tuesday, crews with heavy equipment were moving dirt at the Beattie Street trailhead in Helena. It is the first step in a project to expand and pave the trailhead and add traffic calming and other improvements on the adjacent street.
The Beattie Street project is one of several infrastructure projects the city plans to work on this spring. Leaders pointed to Gov. Steve Bullock’s “stay-at-home” order, which identified public works construction as essential activity that can continue during the closure.
On Monday, the city released a list of some of the projects that will move forward, including completing last year’s Front Street reconstruction and making several other sidewalk, water and sewer improvements.
The Beattie Street trailhead is perhaps the most notable project. Supporters say it will improve access to trails in the Mount Ascension area, but it also drew strong opposition from some residents who said it would have too much impact on the surrounding neighborhood.
Helena City Attorney Thomas Jodoin said during a city commission meeting Monday evening that some neighbors were considering filing legal action over the work that is being done at the trailhead.
The Montana Department of Transportation is also planning work around Helena. Crews are expected to start next week on a sidewalk improvement project along Lyndale Avenue and Montana Avenue. They will be replacing worn-out sections of the sidewalk and updating ramps so they meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities.
Brandon Coates, with the firm RBCI, which is handling communication for the project, said work will start near the intersection of Lyndale and Last Chance Gulch. Crews will close one section of sidewalk at a time and redirect pedestrians to the other side. One lane of traffic will also close during construction.
The city of Helena has more information about the proposed projects, including a full list of what is planned and who to contact for additional updates, on its website.
MDT has more information on the Lyndale-Montana Sidewalk Project online. You can also sign up for email updates by texting SIDEWALKS to the number 42828.