The proposal to build a pedestrian bridge at the Woodside crossing of the Bitterroot River was one of 25 transportation alternative projects recently approved by the Montana Department of Transportation for fiscal year 2014. The project has an estimated cost of $900,000.
The current Transportation Alternative (TA) program replaces the Community Transportation Enhancements Program (CTEP) authorized in previous Transportation bills and includes the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) and Recreational Trails Program (RTP). TA provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on and off road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation and community improvement activities.
State law requires that TA funds be awarded through a competitive process. The application included five categories for scoring: 1) How the project supports MDT’s TranPlan-21 policy goals and local transportation or development goals, 2) How it addresses and benefits Safety and ADA issues, 3) Completeness and readiness, 4) Network connectivity and improvement to existing local transportation facilities/systems, and 5) Right-of-Way and Utility considerations and impacts. The selection committee reviewed 72 applications totaling more than $23 million in funding requests. There were 22 TA-category and three SRTS projects funded for a total of over $7 million.
“A critical part of a community’s infrastructure is the availability of walking and bike paths and trails for recreation,” Governor Steve Bullock said. “These communities will be able to make the necessary improvements to ensure our children can get to school safely as well as providing recreational opportunities for all residents.”