City of Missoula to tackle Reserve Street infrastructure, downtown water main

The Montana Department of Transportation plans to resurface the entire length of Reserve Street next year, and when it does the city will replace its own infrastructure along the way.

The project, which runs from Brooks Street north to Interstate 90, will cost the city just $13,000. That’s its share of replacing 12 water valve boxes and 40 manhole covers.

“It’s a good deal for us,” said Ross Mollenhauer, the utility project manager for Public Works. “They pay for 75 percent of the work. It’s a good opportunity for us to replace this infrastructure at a 25% cost share.”

The resurfacing project is just the latest in a series of improvements made to Reserve Street in recent years, including the addition of a safety barrier along the bridge median over the Clark Fork River.

The next project will make the road smoother, according to the city.

“It’s a concrete road, so they’re going to micro-mill a quarter of an inch,” Mollenhauer said. “When they lower it a quarter inch, they’ll be affecting our water valves in the road and our manholes in the road.”

The city is eyeing other significant infrastructure upgrades next year as well. Among them, it plans to replace 800 feet of a century-old water main at West Pine and May streets.

The $81,000 project will replace the 6-inch line with a modern 12-inch pipe.

“It’s a 6-inch cowl main from 1914 that we want to get out of the ground,” said Mollenhauer. “It kind of rose to the top of our priority list because of the St. Pat’s expansion going on next door. We want to get this done concurrent with that project, so when that ground is ripped up, we can replace that main.”

Providence St. Patrick Hospital plans to begin construction next month on its new six-story ambulatory wing and parking garage. The $126 million project is slated for completion in 2023.