HELENA — The Helena Transportation Systems Department and Public Works are ready to break ground on their projects for 2024, some of which could affect your commute or water supply.
Public Works Director Ryan Leland says they currently have a little over 13 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and they hope to use some of it to solidify the city's water supply and treatment, especially at the Ten Mile Treatment Plant.
"It's gonna be our focus to get the raw water line, which is a very old concrete pipe that is unreinforced. So, it breaks, and we're trying to take all the head gates to be able to collect all the side streams and be able to do the raw water line," he said.
The project will take place in the fall of 2024, and since the Ten Mile Treatment Plant will be shut down for a few months, residents who typically get water from there will get it from the Missouri River Treatment Plant instead.
Those affected may notice changes in their water.
Leland said, "I guess you can taste the chlorine a little bit more, and then it has more of a musky smell of flavor to it, so that's what they kind of say is they get the algae from the Missouri River, and they can tell a difference."
In addition to the Ten Mile Treatment Plant, Public Works will work with the cross-town-connector water main.
"It's basically a lifeline for all of the town. A lot of the valves are old and not working, so we are going to go in there and replace as many valves as we can. We are going to spend several million dollars on that, so if we do get a break, we don't drain the whole town," said Leland.
Some areas that will be affected by Public Works maintenance include Lawrence Street, East Broadway Street, and a portion of the walking mall.
They are also working on master plans for the next 30 years, including a solid waste master plan.
Leland said, "We are going to do recommendations of how we should do recycling...if we do composting, how we do composting, green waste, what level of service we need to supply."
Public Works hopes to present those findings to the city and county in the next few months.
Last summer, the Helena Transportation Systems Department did a major overhaul on Rodney Street; however, this summer is more about maintenance.
"There's always the pothole season, as spring starts thawing, we start getting potholes. So, we'll have that which will again doesn't impact driver a whole lot, but you'll see crews out there doing these maintenance activities," said David Knoepke, Traffic Engineer for the Department of Transportation Systems.
You can stay updated on all the latest projects that might affect you by using the city's interactive map, which you can find here.