Three major county projects get timelines


After waiting for many years and being delayed countless times for various reasons, three of the most important infrastructure projects in Custer County are finally coming to fruition. At the county commissioners meeting on April 1, plans and even starting dates were finalized for the Rural Improvement District 1A sewer main project, the East Valley Water Line, and the long-awaited new Detention Center.

Attending the meeting with Commissioners Kevin Krausz, Keith Holmlund and Vicki Hamilton were Mike Coryell and Julie Korkow of Miles City Area Economic Development, Andy Marum of Dowl-HKM Engineering and Andrew Chanania, program specialist for the Community Development Block Grant program.

RID1A has a “notice to proceed” or anticipated start date of Monday, April 7, weather permitting. 

There was some discussion of the CDBG program that will assist low- and moderate-income households in the RID area with paying for connection and assessments. The project would  provide sewer lines along Valley Drive East over to Gumflat Road and Cheyenne and Kootenai avenues. About 100 low-income residences in the area have limited or no sewer connections.

The total cost of the RID1A project is just short of $2.5 million, with 95 percent of the costs to be covered by grant funding. The anticipated completion of the project is early July of this year.

Andy Marum, in response to questions from the commissioners, explained that “each and all hook-ups were figured into the bid.”

The East Valley Water Line project is running slightly behind schedule because the bids came in higher than originally projected. Extra grant funding is being obtained from the Big Sky Trust Fund to make up the difference. There was also a delay in order to get easement granted through state land. The state is agreeable to the easement, but the process takes time.

The total cost of the East Valley Water Line is estimated at $1.24 million, with construction possibly starting in the fall of this year.

The Custer County Detention Center, which will replace the 1906 jail and update the 1980s-era Emergency Operating Center, is scheduled for a final pre-construction conference the third week in April. If all goes as planned, construction on the Detention Center could begin as early as May of this year.

The cost of the Detention Center, plus EOC updates and other required remodeling, is $7.5 million. The Detention Center project contract was sent to bid as a 300-day project. Funding for the Detention Center is coming from a taxpayer-passed bond issue.

Swank Enterprises of Valier, Mont., submitted the winning bid for the Detention Center.