Custer Avenue - Part 1
Construction on the Custer Avenue Interchange is changing the face of the northeastern part of Helena. In the first of a special series looking into the impacts of the interchange, Beartooth NBC's Kaelyn Kelly tells us as crews prepare for the shutdown of the Custer Bridge, so too are area businesses.
As construction continues in the Custer Avenue area, businesses are bracing for the potential impact of road closures and traffic delays.
“That change of traffic pattern where people will have to drive from the valley up to Cedar Street and then back around the corner to get to us is a little scary," says Mike Wall, President of power Townsend.
"We always expect delays due to the construction for our customers, we know it'll take longer to get across town, we know it takes a little more patience to get through the traffic as well." says Jennifer Hardwick of Steve’s Café.
Many businesses are coming up with ways to let their customers know how to reach them during the construction.
"Obviously there's going to be a little disruption of some traffic but we're in planning stages of making sure that all of our websites will address that issue," says Comfort Suites Helena Manager Jeff Laverdiere.
Jennifer Hardwick told us, "We just try to post our specials so people know what to look for if they do want to make the trek across town it gives them enough time and just gives them the opportunity to still get here and get back to work on time."
Mike Wall says, “MDT is going to put up signage obviously. Hopefully we'll have some signage up on Cedar Street as well as down here on Custer Avenue and we'll put it in our advertising to show them how to get the alternate routes, how to get to our store."
They say the Montana Department of Transportation has been helpful in letting people know about possible delays through radio announcements, public meetings and media
"Little bit of an inconvenience for the next 90 to 120 days, but once that is finished, once the project is finished it's going to be something that’s really been necessary in Helena." says Jeff Laverdiere.
The overpass bridge will shut down after completion of the first phase of construction which is scheduled to wrap up by May 7th. The Helena Chamber of Commerce says it plans to do some extra promotion for businesses that will be affected by the bridge closure. Tomorrow we'll talk to businesses about how they think the interchange will open northeastern Helena to new customers.
Story by Kaelyn Kelly, Beartooth NBC.
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