Missoula County and its local partners came up short in their application for the remaining $10 million in a federal grant earmarked for transportation work off Mullan Road, officials said Tuesday.
But despite the setback, county officials plan to apply for the funding again next year. Work stemming from the first $13 million grant is set for a spring start.
“We have the ability right now to submit an application in a future year,” said Shane Stack, director of Public Works for Missoula County. “We’re going to be in a better situation.”
Missoula County initially requested $23 million in its original BUILD grant application but was awarded just $13 million last year. It submitted a new application in the spring seeking the remaining $10 million and was optimistic about its chances.
The county was passed over several times in its first attempt to receive funding from the competitive grant. It landed the initial $13 million on its third application. Now, like then, it plans to sharpen its request and try for the remaining $10 million again next year.
“When we submitted the last go-round, we didn’t have 30% design,” said Stack. “We can put an application together that’s more accurate on costs. It gives us time to take care of things like preparing permits. We still don’t have all the right-of-way buttoned up.”
Earlier this month, the county secured a contract with DJ&A to complete the design elements in the Mullan area funded by the $13 million already on hand. The top five project elements include the north and south connections for Mary Jane Boulevard, the southern leg of George Elmer Drive, England Boulevard and a portion of Flynn Trail.
Stack said those project elements remain on track and will reach 100% design this fall with groundbreaking slated for next spring. Other project elements will require additional funding.
“That’s going to keep us busy, and even though we weren’t successful, we’ll try for the remaining funding again next year,” he said. “Our schedule shows construction starting probably in June. It could be in May. We put an aggressive schedule together last year and we’re coming up on 60% percent design right now.”