Phase two of reconstruction project begins in Whitefish


KALISPELL, Mont. - Last year crews worked on a $7.5 million project to improve the road conditions along Highway 93 in Whitefish.

A second phase of this project is set to start up again Monday, July 14, 2014. It will extend an additional mile from last years construction. This past spring phase one of reconstruction was completed, from Baker to Karrow Drive. This coming week, construction will continue from Karrow Avenue west to Mountainside Drive.

New sidewalks, bike paths, water and sewage systems are in the construction plan. In addition, crews will plan to build pedestrian tunnels at the Whitefish Golf Club and add street lighting and landscaping to the area.

Schellinger Construction Company is in charge of this phase of the project. They told NBC Montana this construction is much needed.

"The road has been there a long time. It's in pretty poor shape.," said Marc Blanden from Schellinger Construction.

Blanden also mentioned that this project will provide a safer route for people to get in and out of town.

Businesses near the construction site are excited for this.

"Well it's a long needed improvement. It's very dangerous to ride your bike or to walk along this road up here, so the improved access to state park and the Whitefish trail and the golf course is going to be unmeasurable," said Doug Reed, owner of the Whitefish Lake restaurant at Whitefish Golf Club.

Just down the road, sidewalks and bike paths are already completed from phase one. This made one local gas station see more foot traffic than ever before.

But people know that with construction, comes delays.

"It's going to be a little bit of a pain, but there's no other way around it and we're going to make the best of it," Reed said.

For those who are worried about the traffic delays construction workers say to be patient, stay calm and plan ahead.

The road will be down to one lane traffic and workers say they will do their best to keep the waiting to a minimum.

The project is said to be completed by July 2015, with a winter shutdown from November through April. It is also estimated to cost around $10.2 million.