State Park Road rebuild final design approved

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Work is expected to begin this summer on the reconstruction of State Park Road. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

A final design for the reconstruction of State Park Road has been approved and the city is set to begin accepting bids on the first phase of the project.

Reconstruction is set to take place on the road from Lion Mountain Loop Road following the edge of Whitefish Lake Golf Course to just before the BNSF railway railroad crossing to the north. Phase I construction is set to begin July 2019 and includes the section of the road from Lion Mountain Loop Road to Haugen Heights Road. Phase II construction is scheduled for spring and fall of 2020 to run from Haugen Heights Road north to just before the railroad crossing.

The design for the roadway calls for a road with curb and gutters at a width of 32 feet, along with a 6-foot boulevard on the west side and 8-foot path also on the west side. This design would shift vehicles driving on the road about 3 feet father away from homes than the current roadway.

City Council on April 15 approved the design for the road and to go out for bids on the first phase.

The first phase of the project is estimated at a cost of up to $2 million and the second phase is estimated to cost up to $3.7 million. Resort tax funds are paying for the reconstruction, and the road is next on the city’s resort tax priority list.

Workman said the city has experienced issues with construction traffic patterns on past projects, and with that in mind is biding the project with specific traffic control plans. Significant detours had been planned for the project, however, based upon concerns raised with the detours impacting residential neighborhoods the city has added an alternative for bidders to provide pricing that does not use a detour route.

The alternate would require 90 days of traffic flaggers and additional construction efforts.

“Concerns were based on increased traffic along with potential damage to roadways,” Workman said. “At award, staff will make a recommendation on whether or not to award the alternate.”

The design calls for placing the path on the west side of the road so that residents using it would not have to cross the busy road to use it, the location also eliminates the majority of the underground dry utilities from relocation due to roadway excavation and it would provide better separation between traffic and homes along the western portion of the road, according to the city.

As part of the project, the city plans to reduce the current speed limit on the road from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour. The city also plans to add a southbound stop sign at the intersection of State Park Road and Lion Mountain Loop Road. A crosswalk sign and stop bar painted on the roadway is also planned for the intersection.

The city will be upgrading the corridor to include decorative lighting similar to what was installed with the reconstruction of Somers Avenue. Street lights will be placed on the west side of the road and will include shields to direct light away from the houses along State Park Road.

A new stormwater system will be installed with treatment and outfall as part of the project. Currently, roadside ditches serve as stormwater collection for State Park Road.

The city has contracted with Robert Peccia & Associates for engineering services for the reconstruction.

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