Contractors have begun work on a new pedestrian and bike path in Helena.
JAG Grading and Paving started work Monday along the east side of Benton Avenue. They will be installing a ten-foot-wide paved path that will run about a half-mile, adjacent to Bill Roberts Golf Course and Batch Fields.
Leaders say the project will be a significant safety improvement.
“There isn’t a great north-south corridor for non-motorized travel through this area at the moment,” said Camaree Uljua, an engineering project manager with the Montana Department of Transportation. “You can see that there’s already a path worn into the ground out here, so it is being used locally. By adding this ten-foot shared-use path, we’re going to be able to provide a safe, accessible walkway for all sorts of users.”
The path will be separated from the road, providing more space for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Uljua said there shouldn’t be much impact to drivers on Benton, though they should keep an eye out for trucks entering and exiting the work area and follow any posted signs. However, crews will be redirecting non-motorized travel to paths on the west side of the street.
“We ask that people use those instead of walking on the east side for the time being and just stay clear of any of our posted construction areas, and as soon as we can open locations, we’ll open those up to reduce any sort of inconvenience,” she said. “We appreciate everybody’s patience in the neighborhood while we complete this project, and hopefully everybody’s excited to use it.”
The project is expected to last about ten weeks and wrap up by late October, depending on weather. It is being paid for through Federal Highway Administration funds and a match from the City of Helena.