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Custer Avenue bridge closing

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Phase two of the Custer Avenue construction project is about to be underway. The Custer Avenue bridge will be demolished this weekend. Early Sunday morning the barricades will go up and the Custer Avenue Bridge will be closed to the public for the next two months. Friday, Reporter Anish Hamor spoke with some area businesses about the impact the change in traffic will have.

Detours are set up and crews are ready to begin the next phase of construction. For those who frequent this route, the end result will bring some much needed traffic relief.

"Starting the project has been long overdue but it’s been well worth it,” says Colleen Farnsworth, a supporter of the improvements.

Custer Ave. Project Supervisor Nathan Malmin says a lot of planning has gone into the change.

"It’s about 10 years in the making I think on this project. Looking at the traffic bumper to bumper, its well needed," Malmin says.

But for businesses on or near this interchange, the next couple of months will be difficult.

"It is slowing our business down a little bit," says Jennifer Hardwick of Steve’s Café.

"Keep in mind that those businesses are open and this is a tough time for them during these 75 days," Malmin says.

The Helena Police Department is also preparing for the bridge closure.

"If we need to put towards traffic details, we will put extra enforcements out there,” says Assistand Chief Dave Jeseritz of the Helena Police Department. “We will be letting our officers know to be aware of changes in patterns and behaviors and so forth."

Luckily for those who depend on Custer Ave,  the project is moving forward faster than planned.

"We're running about 19 days ahead of schedule so that moves up phase two. Originally phase two was supposed to be done at the end of July, now we're looking at mid-June to late June for the 75 days," Malmin says.

"I think being ahead of schedule is probably the most important thing that they're doing with summer hitting and tourists coming in to town," says Hardwick.

Everyone we spoke with today says while the construction is an inconvenience, they are grateful for the improvements that come with it.

Story by Aniseh Hamor, Beartooth NBC.
Copyright ©2012 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved.

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Custer Avenue, Custer road construction

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