By Myers Reece, 4-06-12
||Caption: Construction employees work on the intersection of Second Street and Spokane Avenue along U.S. Highway 93 in downtown Whitefish. - Lido Vizzutti/Flathead Beacon
U.S. Highway 93 traffic in Whitefish is now being detoured to Baker Avenue because the intersection of Second Street and Spokane Avenue has been closed down for a street reconstruction project.
The street reconstruction project, funded by a $3.5 million federal TIGER grant, is designed to update infrastructure below ground and on the surface, while improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety, along two blocks of Second Street/U.S. Highway 93 between Baker and Spokane avenues.
Last September and October, crews completed the bulk of the reconstruction project, including the replacement of the sewer system on a portion of Lupfer Avenue. The Lupfer part of the project was funded by the city, while the rest is funded by the TIGER grant.
On April 2, crews started the project’s second phase primarily involving the replacement of a storm drain system and new pavement at the intersection of Spokane and Second. Other finish work will be also completed along Second, including decorative streetlights, landscaping and an irrigation system.
Additionally, crews are installing new traffic lights with left-turn signals, as well as pedestrian-activated crosswalk signals. Karin Hilding, senior project engineer with the city of Whitefish, said the new lights and signals won’t be activated until the project is completed at the end of May or early June.
The intersection of Spokane and Second has been closed and cars traveling north along Highway 93 South are being detoured to Baker Avenue at 13th Street.
Kalispell’s LHC Inc. is the project’s contractor, while Stelling Engineers is conducting construction management and inspection. Missoula-based WGM Group was the designer.
Whitefish received the $3.5 million TIGER grant in 2009 through the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Second Street project was one of only two in Montana selected for TIGER grant funds and one of only 50 nationwide.
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