I-15 PROJECT — This graphic from the county commissioners shows the work being done for a new overpass on I-15. When done, there will no longer be a circular entrance or exit, but a preferred diamond configuration. Graphic courtesy of Pondera County Commissioners
The highway improvement project on the Conrad I-15 North Interchange has begun.
The construction costs for this project are nearly $2 million and Nelcon, Inc. of Kalispell was awarded the contract.
The project consists of reconfiguring the existing northbound ramps from the current partial cloverleaf style to a diamond configuration.
The project is set to be complete by the end of August 2010.
The reconstruction of the overpass brings other projects forward as well. This project will allow for a County road to be built that will connect the overpass with the east frontage road and will also allow access to the City of Conrad’s new Industrial Park.
The County Road Department has begun the county road and anticipates completion of this connection by the end of August.
Commissioner Cynthia Johnson says, “The ultimate location for the road was based on topography, water issues and rights of way.”
She went on to add, “The construction of the county road will help alleviate the current safety concerns of emergency response access to the east side of the city of Conrad when there is a train at the railroad crossing.”
In anticipation of the reconstruction of the north bound ramps, the City of Conrad purchased approximately 50 acres on the east side of I-15 in 2005.
This property was purchased in order to offer land for a proposed new Montana Department of Transportation rest area at the interchange and also allocates land for a new industrial park for local business expansion or future growth.
The MDOT Conrad Rest Area is tentatively planned for construction in 2014.
The City has completed a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) on the Industrial Park property. The PER sited three separate subdivision layouts and several water and sewer alternatives.
The City of Conrad is exploring several options on how to fund the expansion of water and sewer infrastructure to the new Industrial Park. The city and the Pondera Regional Port Authority submitted an appropriation request to the Federal Government in March.
“We are hopeful that there will be an appropriation in the FY2011 Federal budget,” said Mayor Shevlin of Conrad.
He went on to say, “We continue to explore all our options for funding the infrastructure and securing tenants and are appreciative of the efforts and cooperation of the Port Authority and the County Commissioners.”
Anyone who has questions regarding this project or would like to see the proposed subdivision layout should contact the City of Conrad (271-3623), the Pondera Port Authority (271-7237) or the County Commissioners (271-4010) during normal working hours.