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Monday, November 20, 2017

Jason Stuart photo

City gears up for street work

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Glendive is going to be rife with street construction in 2019, as the city is planning for major street repair on some 10 additional city streets beyond the major projects already planned for Meade Avenue and Towne Street.

Locals may have noticed Montana Department of Transportation surveyors taking measurements in recent days on several city streets, especially in Glendive’s Southside neighborhood. Those surveying measurements are being taken because city Public Works Director Jack Rice has nominated those streets for inclusion in the Urban Pavement Preservation Program.

MDT informed the city last year that Glendive qualified to receive federal funding through that program by virtue of the city’s inclusion in another federal program, the  Urban Transportation Program. The Urban Transportation Program is providing the funding for MDT’s scheduled 2019 rebuild of Meade and reconfiguration of Towne from a four-lane road to a three-lane between Merrill Avenue and the river bridge.

MDT District 4 Administrator Shane Mintz has previously stated that with Glendive’s inclusion in the Urban Transportation Program, the community immediately became eligible for about $300,000 in Urban Pavement Preservation funding.

All the city had to do was identify which city streets it wanted included in the program and provide MDT with a rating of those streets’ repair needs on a scale of 1 to 10. Rice completed that process not long ago and submitted his list to MDT, who then sent their own engineers out to review Rice’s findings. Rice said that too has been completed, with MDT apparently largely agreeing with his conclusions.

“I think we must of sort of agreed, because they said your next step is to prioritize what you want done with each street,” Rice said, adding that he and MDT engineers then “went to each site and discussed it on site.”

At the end of the day, Rice and MDT appear to have largely reached agreement on which streets to include in the Urban Preservation Program for 2019. Even better for Rice, after these initial steps are complete, the city can largely sit back and watch, as MDT will fund and manage the project.

“They’re going to do quite a bit of stuff for us,” Rice said.

While plans could still change between now and 2019 and all the proposed streets may not get included depending on available funding or further engineering findings, Rice has nominated the following city streets for inclusion in the program (streets listed in descending order of priority, with the proposed work plan in parentheses):

• Barry Street underpass (mill/overlay/chip seal)

• Barry from South Taylor to South Anderson (crack seal/seal and cover)

• North Sargent from East Allard to East Brennan (crack seal/seal and cover)

• East Allard from North Sargent to East Anderson (crack seal/seal and cover)

• North Anderson from Hillcrest Entrance to East Allard (crack seal/seal and cover)

• Allen Street underpass (crack seal/seal and cover)

• South Sargent from Snyder to Raymond (crack seal/seal and cover)

• South Sargent from Raymond to Barry (mill/overlay/chip seal)

• Snyder from South Taylor to South Sargent (seal and cover)

• Dilworth from West Ames Wye to North Meade (crack seal)

Again, however, Rice stressed that these plans are not set in stone.

“Everything from MDT has a caveat, so this doesn’t mean all these will get done,” he said.

Rice also had one stretch of North Sargent that he tried to get included in the program but MDT did not agree with it. That stretch is between Clement and Brennan, and Rice said that MDT determined that the drainage issues in the area disqualified that section of North Sargent from inclusion in the program.

“I wanted to get that milled and overlaid, but they said because of the drainage problems coming off of Hungry Joe Hill, they wanted the city to do some more curb and gutter improvements and do some more drainage work before they would commit to spending any money there,” Rice said.

The list of streets proposed for inclusion for the Urban Preservation project also includes two in West Glendive — Lark Lane between Pine Street and Jefferson School Road, and Pine Street from where it turns into Lark to Highway 200S. However, those two streets are at the very bottom of the priority list, and so are the least likely to end up actually being included in the program for 2019. Rice said he met with his counterpart with the county — Road Department supervisor Joe Sharbono — and they agreed to put those streets at the bottom of the list, a decision he said MDT also concurred with.

“We met with Joe on those, and the county’s done quite a bit of work on those, so they’re at the bottom of the priority list,” Rice said. “The state also agreed that Lark and Pine will probably be OK for the next five years until the next cycle.”

Overall, Rice is very enthusiastic about Glendive’s (and West Glendive’s) ability to get funds through the Urban Preservation program to help improve and maintain the city’s streets. The program is especially appealing because it ultimately requires very little work directly from city hall and it’s a major infusion of money for local streets that doesn’t come directly out of the pocketbooks of local residents.

“It’s an awesome program for the city. We don’t have any street maintenance districts or (local) tax dollars specifically for streets. The only thing the city of Glendive uses for street repair right now is gas tax money, and there’s only so much of that each year to work with,” Rice said. “It’s a wonderful program, and it was worth all the work that came out of city hall to get us there.”

 

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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