City Plans to Move Utility Lines to Make Room for Bypass

By Beacon Staff

The speed with which the state is moving forward on plans to construct the southern portion of the Kalispell bypass has taken city officials by surprise.

At a work session Monday, Kalispell Public Works Director Jim Hansz spoke to the council about the need to amend his department’s budget in order to pay for the relocation of certain water and sewer lines necessitated by the imminent construction of the bypass. Previously, Hansz did not think the bypass would be underway soon enough to have to include the utility relocation costs in the current budget.

“We were expecting the project to move forward some time next year,” Hansz said. “It’s kind of a refreshing change, but it does present a number of problems.”

In a September Beacon story, Montana Department of Transportation Director Jim Lynch said one piece of property remains to be purchased in the right-of-way for the southern portion of the U.S. Highway 93 bypass.

At the work session Monday, at which no formal votes are allowed, Hansz confirmed that MDT remains on track to negotiate the final piece of land, and if things go smoothly, could award a contract for the first phase of the bypass, from U.S. Highway 2 to Airport Road, in coming weeks, with a bid opening Oct. 19. Construction on the long-planned project could begin this spring.

There will be a public hearing scheduled for the Oct. 5 council meeting to allow for comments on whether to give authority to the Public Works department to amend their budget, and the council will vote on the matter at the following meeting. Money for the utility relocations would come out of the water and sewer funds, and a portion could come out of the Westside Tax Increment Finance District.

“We can then get this project on the road, or under the road, as the case may be,” Hansz added.

Hansz said he would bring a more specific financial outline of the project’s cost at the Oct. 5 meeting, but did provide a memo showing what projects are necessary.

The city will have to relocate a 12-inch water main and a 6-inch sewer force main along Foys Lake Road. Relocating the water main will cost an estimated $306,877 and the sewer will cost $289,908. The state pays 75 percent of the costs to relocate the lines, leaving the city on the hook for $76,718 for the water main and $72,477 for the sewer line.

The state will also extend Kalispell’s water and sewer main to the west property line of Flathead Beverage, located on the west side of the future bypass along the south side of U.S. Highway 2. MDT will pay the $104,102-cost to install an 8-inch water main, and the city will pay $19,938 to upgrade it to a 14-inch line in order to use it as a trunk line for future development west of the bypass.

Corporate Drive will have to be relocated to provide space for the future on-ramp at the northeast corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and the bypass. The estimated cost to relocate an 8-inch gravity sewer main will be $92,963 and moving a 12-inch water main will be $107,561. Kalispell’s portion of that cost will be $23,241 for the sewer main and $26,890 for the water main.

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