Kalispell council mulls $2M intersection project

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The Kalispell City Council will discuss a $2 million intersection improvement project, as well as city bike racks and the city’s agreement with the City-County Board of Health at a work session this evening.

The council will continue discussion with recent updates on the “16th Street Offset” project planned for the intersection of Airport Road, 18th Street and First Avenue West. The city has been working to improve traffic flow at this congested intersection since 2018 and recently reached the 30% design landmark for the project.

WGM Group originally was hired to do the analysis and design for the project. Over the past year, they narrowed down their options to two potential projects known as the 16th Street Offset and the 18th Street Realignment.

This summer, they reported they were unable to purchase the private land necessary to pursue the 18th Street Realignment plan, so they settled on the 16th Street Offset option.

This option includes a parking lot design and sidewalk extension. They plan for the sidewalk to extend along the entire south side of Airport Road and First Avenue West. The sidewalk will ultimately reach from Rankin School, north past the city shops to 12th Avenue West and eventually to Legends Field, according to the agenda for the work session.

The city originally estimated the project would cost $1.48 million, according to an earlier city manager report. WGM now estimates the total cost of the project at $2.03 million, which includes $1.03 million for the work on the parking lot and 16th Street and $1 million for the sidewalk extension.

The agenda reported the Westside Tax Increment Finance District “is anticipated to have $2.28 million in reserve for this project.”

The work session will also include a discussion of the bike rack design project that has been in the works since the spring. The project is intended “to improve bike and pedestrian friendliness as well as add vitality to the downtown landscape.” Three rack designs have been selected and tentative locations have been set for the southeast corner of the Valley Bank parking lot, the parking lot south of Colter Coffee and the northeast corner of First Street and Main Street.

As requested during the council’s approval of the City-County Board of Health budget for 2019, the work session will feature a discussion of the city’s interlocal agreement with the City-County Health Department. The council will review the agreement, its statutes and how these “relate to the interactions and approval process for the City-County Health Department funding” and other interlocal issues.

The entire work session agenda is available here: https://www.kalispell.com/AgendaCenter/City-Council-Agenda-8/?#_10142019-334

The work session will take place at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 201 First Ave E.

Reporter Bret Anne Serbin may be reached at 758-4459 or bserbin@dailyinterlake.com.

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