By Rich Winter
As the Tribune went to print Tuesday, locales in the Mission area were likely becoming aware of the Highway 18 construction project that was scheduled to start Monday.
While Monday’s storm kept construction crews at bay, rest assured, it’s going to be a long summer as the project has a completion date of Aug. 10.
During a public meeting Friday at the Mission City Offices, Anderson Construction estimator, Brian Buchholtz, told those in attendance about the logistics of the project.
“We’re going to start on the west end of town (Near Ampride) and start widening the south end of the road first,” Buchholtz said.
That means at least one of the east-bound lanes in Mission will be closed, at least partially.
Prior to the meeting, representatives from Anderson Construction (The group that did the construction project in Rosebud last summer) met with county, state and city officials/workers to hash out some of the details including how long the stop light in Mission will be in operation during the project.
“We’ll try to leave the traffic signal up for as long as we can, but, at some point, we’ll have to bring temporary signals in,” Buchholtz said.
With construction starting on the west end of town, representatives from the Ampride convenience store expressed concern about the flow of traffic in and around their store and whether the store would have two access points open during the construction process.
“We will have to shut one of the access points off at a time but that shouldn’t take very long,” a representative said.
Another concern from local residents that included west of Mission resident, Troy Heinert, was the concern of motor vehicles taking country access roads to reach Mission, rather than wait at for what some expect to be a congested highway.
“Once it gets going, it’s going to get congested,” Hugh Storm, County Director of Transportation said.
Buckholtz said the road will maintain two-way traffic but there would be some flag work early in the project.
While the project will literally be a work in progress, once the south side of highway 18 is done, workers will flip over to the north side and work on expanding that side of the road.