The city of Kalispell is preparing for a large road project on Fourth Avenue East that will involve 15 blocks of construction and lead to a pair of streets changing from one-way to two-way traffic.
The city is accepting bids through May 4 for the project, which will involve replacing an underground line from the 1920s that supplies water to neighborhood residents. Crews will replace the existing water main from Center Street to 14th Street.
“That water main has served its purpose, but it’s time to replace it,” Susie Turner, the city’s public works director, said. “We’ve had a lot of water main breaks in the area.”
Turner expects the project to break ground near the end of May or early June and last through fall. A public meeting will be held in May to explain the details. A date has not yet been decided, Turner said.
“It’s a fairly big project,” she said. “It’s one of our larger capital replacement projects that we’ve done recently.”
As part of the project, Third Avenue East will be converted into a two-way street to accommodate diverted traffic from Fourth Avenue East, which will be closed to through traffic during construction. Once the project is completed, Third and Fourth will both become full-time two-way streets.
The city has reviewed whether to convert the two streets in recent years and received heavy public input from neighborhood residents in favor of changing from one-ways. Currently, Fourth Avenue East is a one-way street traveling north and Third Avenue East is a one-way headed south.
“We listened to residents who said they didn’t want a thoroughfare through their residential neighborhood,” Turner said.
The city council approved the transportation plan after traffic studies were conducted that recommended the change.