HELENA – Phase one of the two phase Front Street Reconstruction Project is now complete. Vehicles and pedestrian traffic were unable to travel through Front Street for several months as underground lines were replaced.
The two-phase project started out as a storm water project but has turned into much more. The project would slowly blossom into redoing the whole roadway.
The city of Helena says they are replacing former lines which were built by hand in the late 1800’s. They were unable to handle today’s storm water drainage, which led to flooding of businesses and streets. The new systems will allow for greater carrying capacity of storm water drainage to underground systems in Centennial Park. The project not only required upgrades to underground infrastructure, but improved pedestrian features allowing for greater walkability in the downtown area.
“This is a really big project to work with all the businesses and everything down here to try and make it feel like a downtown and a more modern feel. It is going to be all inclusive and hopefully the design, and everyone will find it very friendly and easy to come down here,” said Ryan Leland, City of Engineer.
During phase two of the project, the same improvements will be added to the intersection of Neill Avenue and West 14th Street. Leland says Neill Avenue will be closed for at least two months while it is under construction. He says it will be an inconvenience to travels on Neill Ave, but it will be a benefit for the public once construction is complete.
Throughout both phases of the Front Street Project, all businesses in the downtown area have and will remain open. The two-phase project is expected to wrap up sometime in mid-November.