MISSOULA – A major push to lay millions of dollars of infrastructure in the greater Mullan area ahead of future development continues, and Missoula County believes work is on track to begin next spring.
But that could boil down to when the Federal Highway Administration approves and signs its grant agreement with the county, according to Shane Stack, the countyâs public works director.
“We expected the grant agreement to be approved and signed by then, late November or early December,” said Stack. âBut you can do that at the beginning of January at the earliest. The hope before and after is the start of construction in early February or March at the latest. I think it’s still possible. “
As plans move forward, this week the county amended its agreement with the City of Missoula, making small changes to who is funding what and where the funding is coming from.
The county used approximately $ 300,000 from the local option gas tax, when it was still available, to fund some of the planning work. The amendment to the agreement mentions the county’s investments on that front.
“We also have some emergency funds from the county side that are being added,” said Stack. âOn the city side, more road funding is being added. It was originally $ 2 million. They will now be close to $ 2.6 million. “
The work, known as the Mullan BUILD project, will expand Mary Avenue and Goerge Elmer Drive to include both Mullan Road and West Broadway. It will also extend England Boulevard further west and install a series of roundabouts at key intersections.
Road works as well as sewage and water supply are planned, all of which will be staggered over several years as soon as more funds are available. But at the moment, Stack says, the project doesn’t seem to need as much sewage and water infrastructure as originally thought.
âIt’s not so much about the size, but more about the cost,â he said. âThe city originally decided to provide $ 4.3 million in sewer and water funds for the project. The reality is that we only need about $ 3.8 million, so there is a reduction but an increase on the transportation side. “