Major road construction postponed
TIGER Grant road construction for highway 64/Lone Mountain Trail postponed until Spring of 2022
The TIGER Grant improvements must wait until next year. The major road construction projects that were scheduled to take place over the summer of 2021 have been pushed back until next spring. According to a recent press release from Gallatin County, in 2017, the community of Big Sky was awarded a TIGER grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in the amount of $10.2 million dollars for major infrastructure improvements along the Lone Mountain Trail/MT Highway 64 corridor.
As briefly mentioned in last week’s paper (http://www.lonepeaklookout.com/june-10-2021), the right-of-way acquisition for the TIGER grant took longer than anticipated. The reasons for the delay were twofold according to Bozeman Region Manager of Sanderson Stewart, Danielle Scharf. The first issue was the fact that the land on the Lone Mountain Trail/MT Highway 64 corridor is both publicly and privately owned. Therefore some organizations had to approve the notion through a board, which in some cases took a substantial amount of time. “The process always takes longer than we think it should,” Scharf said.
The second of which was trying to maintain an accommodating balance. “We needed to be accommodating of the property owners and not push too hard because we might push them away. However we generally try to be pretty patient with them,” Scharf said.
This delay ended up being a problem for the Sanderson Stewart team. This pushed the opening bid back to Tuesday, May 25. According to Scharf, the Sanderson Stewart team knew they were most likely too late to get a competitive bid even before the bidding unfolded. “We knew it was not ideal and the later we got into spring, the more risk there is,” Scharf said. This was due to the fact that the bids “won’t be nearly as competitive because contractor schedules are rapidly filling up throughout the season,” Scharf said.
Although there have been some major hold ups throughout this process, the Sanderson Stewart team believes these changes will be very important for the community of Big Sky. “The need is definitely there,” Scharf said.
At this time, Gallatin County and FHWA have agreed to re-bid the project this fall and begin construction in the spring of 2022 (According to a recent press release from Gallatin County). This will give the community of Big Sky some time to provide much needed input. If the rebid this fall is over budget once again, then one or more parts of the project will be cut. To decide the importance of each piece of the project, Sanderson Stewart has released a survey which asks community members to rank the various projects from first to last. If the fall bid is over budget once again then the project(s) ranked lowest overall may be cut.
The survey can be found online at https://www.mthighway64communitysurvey.com. Submissions will be taken until July 15, 2021.