The Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Act (BaRSAA) was enacted in 2017, allocating 35 percent or $9.8 million (whichever is greater) of the motor fuel tax each fiscal year to Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT) and approximately $21 million allocated to local governments by fiscal year 2021. Funds can be used for the construction, maintenance and repair of rural roads or city streets, as well as alleys and bridges. The first allocation the City of Sidney received was $47,000, which has been used for the repaving of 10th Avenue SE and NE. The project will reach it’s conclusion the last week of August.
The current scoop
Sidney Director of Public Works Jeff Hintz said the city must come up with 5 percent of the project in order to qualify for BaRSAA funding. He estimated the cost of the 10th Avenue project at just over $50,000.
The city street was in disrepair after years of beet harvest and concrete truck traffic.
“It was in really tough shape,” Hintz said.
After a few delays due to equipment failure, 10th Avenue SE and NE will be completed the last week of August 2019 after the final lift of asphalt is placed on Wednesday, Aug. 28. The city’s goal to open the road before beet harvest will be met.
With annual BaRSAA funding available by application, Hintz said the city’s next project will be connecting 6th Avenue SE behind the high school to 14th Street SE. With the bike path’s fifth and final phase completed this summer, the irrigation lateral in the location is now piped and the streets can be connected.
“There have been citizens who live back there who have been asking for this,” Hintz said of the project.
Currently, Interstate Engineering has provided the City of Sidney with project plans. The city is waiting for a permit from MDOT for an approach on 14th Street SE, which is also a state highway (Route 488). Hintz doesn’t expect any issues in securing the permit. When the permit is handed over, the city will submit the plans for funding approval with BaRSAA.
Other future projects on the list for BaRSAA funding include establishing a curb and gutter district to address the southwest side of town between Central and Lincoln, and overlays for 14th Street SW, 9th Avenue SW and 12th Avenue SW by the hospital. Hintz said those projects are part of a 4-5 year plan.
“It’s a good program so far,” Hintz said. “We’ve never in this state had any funding, grants or monies available for street improvements. BaRSAA provides that. It’s small amounts, but it’s something. With good planning, we can do quite a bit.”