Main Street gets sidewalk enhancements

By: 
DEB HILL
Managing Editor

Ryan Johnson of Millennial Construction installs a separator strip as part of the reconstruction of the sidewalk at the corner of Third and Main streets Monday.

Photo by Deb Hill

It seems as if every road in Central Montana is under construction right now, and Lewistown’s Main Street is no exception, with a project underway to improve street corner safety.

“We’re putting in new talking signal lights and fixing the corner ramps so they meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements,” said Rob Ferguson, president of Millennium Construction company out of Billings.

Millennium won the Montana Department of Transportation contract for the job, which is expected to last through early October.

Part of the project includes rebuilding the corners at the intersections of Main Street and Second Avenue and Main Street and Fifth Avenue. The new sidewalk corners, known as bulb-outs, are substantially larger than the prior ones, bulging out into the traffic and parking lanes.

“The bulb-outs were recommended by our Traffic and Safety Bureau,” Gary Neville, MDT Billings engineer told the News-Argus. “Bulb-outs primarily help pedestrians cross the highway. They serve as a refuge and provide better site visibility for pedestrians trying to cross the road, because they protrude out into the road. This provides a safer crossings for pedestrians.

“This is a solution to mitigate identified collisions with pedestrians. Bulb-outs do help to a degree with traffic calming, the constriction does cause drivers to slow down,” he added.

Ferguson said the sizeable extension of the sidewalk at each bulb-out does mean some parking places will be lost.

“It does improve safety,” he said, “as drivers don’t have vehicles parked right up to the corner blocking their view.”

The sidewalks at the corners of First, Third and Fourth streets will be the same size they were before being reconstructed, but Ferguson said the new ramps being built on those corners will meet ADA requirements and be easier for pedestrians to navigate.

Ferguson said his work schedule is designed to create the least possible disruption for both drivers and pedestrians. He plans include working around the Chokecherry festival.

“We won’t work at all the week after Labor Day,” he said. “That Monday is a holiday and the end of the week is when they start setting up for the Chokecherry festival. We will have everything cleaned up and it will look like we are finished, so there won’t be any interference with the festival. Then we’ll start up again the week after the festival.”

Ferguson added that the job is going well, and they expect to finish on time despite a delay caused by last week’s heavy rain.

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