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Neighbors want busy street near Hamilton resurfaced for safety

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Jun 26 2014 07:29:11 PM MDT
Updated On: Jun 26 2014 11:12:36 PM MDT
HAMILTON, Mont. -

The condition of a 3/4 mile stretch of street east of Hamilton has neighbors upset over increased traffic and pot holes that bubbled up over the winter.

Neighbors said Daly Avenue needs attention because it's home to Daly Elementary School, and a Montessori School.

The county will fix the pot holes, frost bumps, cracks and crevices on the 25 mile per hour street.

But neighbors want more.

They circulated a petition, and gathered 200 signatures to have the street resurfaced.

"It would be way better to get it done right than to keep patching it," said Daly Avenue resident Brent Huseby.

But Daly is competing with scores of other bad roads and streets in the Bitterroot, and any resurfacing isn't likely to happen any time soon.

The pot holes will get fixed, but Huseby said it won't be long before they open up again.

That's one reason he wants the street resurfaced.

"I seen two kids back in May almost get hit by people going around these pot holes," said Huseby. "Therefore, I thought this wasn't a driving issue anymore. It's a safety issue."

When Grantsdale School closed last year, most of those students transferred to Daly Elementary.

Daly's school population rose from 359 students to 431 kids.

There's also a Montessori school on the street.

There's a church nearby, and new subdivisions close by too.

Some drivers use Daly to avoid traffic lights on major streets.

Marlin Lewis drove by and told NBC Montana that he would sign Huseby's petition .

The reason, said Lewis, is "there's a lot of traffic on the street,  and it's safety of students."

Kids use the school playground all year long.

"As I look south from Daly there is no sidewalk," said Daly Elementary teacher Tom Anderson. "The street is narrow for two cars. And we have many kids that walk and try to bike on this road."

The county plans to patch the problems this summer.

But it can't be too soon, said residents.

Commissioner J.R. Iman said there are worse roads in the county that have priority.

"Who are you going to take it away from," asked Iman. "The county has the ability to surface between three and five miles per year. And we have five or six-hundred miles of paved roads."

Iman estimates the cost of resurfacing would be about $300,000.

He said resurfacing Daly  would be expensive because you have to mill out the existing material on the street, to meet the curbs and gutters on each side.

He also said it could be difficult to obtain easements because there are irrigation ditches on both sides that are on private property.

Iman said he knows the road has increased traffic.

But it's not the worst road in Ravalli County, he said.

When Daly deteriorates to the point where it can't be patched anymore, he said, the county will consider a more extensive repair.

But neighbors said accidents are waiting to happen.

County Road Department Supervisor Dusty McKern told NBC Montana the county is doing "the best it can" to fix Ravalli County's myriad roads.

All roads were hit hard by a bad winter," said McKern, and crews are two months behind just getting caught up so all roads are passable.