Boulder families may soon no longer need to drive elsewhere to find child care. In the middle of the night, the child care building drove to them.
It took nearly six hours to crawl the 42.7 miles from Jim Darcy Elementary School north of Helena to Boulder Elementary School, averaging a bit over 7 mph in single-digit temperatures—but after months of planning and wrangling over funding, a building that the city of Boulder purchased to serve as a child care facility arrived at its new home on West Fourth Avenue around 6 a.m. on Dec. 16, after setting out on its journey at 12:01 a.m.
Crews from Tamietti & Son House Moving & Heavy Hauling towed the building, which was purchased with American Rescue Plan Act funds given to Boulder by Jefferson County, along two-lane roads through the Helena Valley, entirely avoiding Interstate 15 until Montana City. They carefully maneuvered the building east along Lincoln Road, south down Glass Drive to Masonic Home Road and then south down a frontage road. They then moved east on Custer Avenue/Canyon Ferry Road to a southbound run on Wylie Drive/Fourth Street into East Helena. From there, the building briefly rolled east on U.S. Route 287 in East Helena before turning south onto state Route 518, which led to I-15 in Montana City.
Once on the interstate, the building cruised past Clancy and Jefferson City, over the Boulder Hill and down Boulder's Main Street. Crews steered the building onto West First Avenue at L&P Grocery, then down Monroe Street for a few blocks before turning onto West Fourth Avenue and parking the building alongside the newly poured foundation where it will soon sit, directly behind Boulder Elementary School.
Along the journey, crews from utility companies and their contractors traveled ahead of and alongside the building, measuring telecommunication cable clearances. Workers hoisted in bucket trucks lifted lines by hand when necessary, holding them just inches above the building's roof as it passed by, lowering the lines once the building passed, and then taking a different route to leapfrog ahead of the building and assess the next set of lines the building would pass under.
For full coverage, read the Dec. 22 issue of The Monitor.