City planning to use gas tax funds for water main, street repair

The City Commission will consider during their Aug. 6 meeting whether to authorize city staff to request distribution of the city’s share of the Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Account, or BaRSAA.

This year, the city is requesting it’s $764,381.03 allocation with a city match of $38.219.05 from the street department’s maintenance funds.

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The proposed project for this year’s BaRSAA funds is water main repair on the lower northside, from 2nd Avenue North to 8th Avenue North and from Park Drive to 9th Street.

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The water mains within the scope of the project were installed from 1890-1892 and the street paving districts were established 1913-1915.

Minor improvements have been made in that original town site over the years, according to city public works. The water mains have failed with increasing frequency, damaging resident’s property, the roadways and disrupting water service to local residents. The water main breaks are due primarily to age and type of pipe material and corrosive soils, according to public works.

This will be a two-part project and according to city public works will include:

  • Part one will replace the old undersized 6-inch water mains with new 8-inch PVC pipe. This portion of the project will be paid for using city Water Capital
    Improvement Funds;
  • Part two will be to rebuild damaged and outdated roadways. The proposed roadway reconstruction will include removal of the existing pavement, base course and subgrade; properly compact the re-graded subgrade soils, install separation and support fabric, installation and compaction of new base course material, and place new asphaltic concrete pavement;
  • Along with street reconstruction the project will also remove and replace curb and gutter, sidewalks and install ADA compliant handicap ramps.

The fund was created during the 2017 legislative session and included a graduated six cent increase in the motor fuel tax by fiscal year 2023. Each fiscal year, 35 percent or 9.8 million of the proceeds, whichever is greater, is allocated to the Montana Department of Transportation and the remainder, or about $21 million by fiscal year 2021, is allocated to local governments through BaRSAA.

Beginning March 1 annually, local governments may request distribution of their allocation from MDT and must match that with a 5 percent local match.

The city can use the funds for the construction, reconstruction, maintenance and repair of city streets, alleys and bridges that it has the responsibility to maintain.

The city’s BaRSAA funds for 2018, in the amount of $360,411.42, were received and designated to the first phase of the Encino Drive Grande Vista 2 street repairs project.