Helena, MT: City asks for help funding grade-separation

28 Jan

The City of Helena has asked Montana Rail Link to help fund the grade-separation of Montana Avenue within a postulated Quiet Zone that would likely see the closure of the Roberts Street level crossing as a quid-pro-quo. Grade-separation is nothing new as the topic has been in play since before a 2002 Grade Separation Study undertaken by Montana’s Department of Transportation. Indeed, back then a similar proposal ranked second on a state-wide basis.

On the basis of preliminary estimates in 2001, grade-separating Montana Avenue was likely to have cost between USD9.0-12.5 million. Uplifting this to current prices increases costs considerably. This predicates a multi-agency approach to trade benefits for contributions to the project, with the possibility of Federal dollars a component of further consideration.

In so far as the Quiet Zone is concerned, there is a need to agree whether the objective will be to silence train horns throughout the city, or just at a sub-set of the six level crossings at which horns have to be sounded.

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