112019 GreatWest

Great West Engineering prepared this rendering of the new alternative proposed for the Montana City solid waste facility.

A new alternative is being proposed for upgrading Montana City’s solid waste facility. Residents can learn about and comment on it at a County Commission meeting set for 6 p.m. Nov. 26 at Montana City Fire Station No. 1.

Multiple public hearings were held earlier this year to gauge support for the preferred alternative previously identified in a preliminary engineering report, in which a new and expanded container site would be built on County property above the existing site.

The new alternative proposes building the expanded site on the existing site, which would require locating a temporary site elsewhere during the estimated 75-day construction period.

The temporary site requirement is “the only thing that has changed since we went through all these public hearings before,” said County Commissioner Cory Kirsch.

“This meeting [on Nov. 26] will get that out there and see how popular it is and see what they think about placing the site right where it’s at now, versus plugging it up on top of the hill,” he said.

County contractor Great West Engineering identified the new alternative in October following discussions in which Kirsch said he expressed concern about the expense and difficulty of constructing a new road required for placing the site above where it is now.

“Not that we’ve completely gone away with that idea,” Kirsch said. “[But] if you took the footprint of the facility they had up on the hill, which we liked the most, and put it down here [at the existing site], it’d almost fit perfectly. I’m like, ‘Why not do that?’”

In an Oct. 26 email sent to the commissioners, Bob Church of Great West Engineering recapped the possible locations discussed for the temporary dump site: the fire hall parking lot and an open lot next to it; the parking lot by the Montana City School track; the parking area west of the building used by the roads department; or a commercial lot near Tri-County Landfill.

“The temporary site would be set up with small containers that the public could throw into from ground level,” Church wrote. “You might be able to rent these containers from Tri-County, but they might insist on doing the hauling which would be a significant cost for the County.”

Church continued that he could contact Tri-County to “see if they are willing to rent containers and if they would let the County do the hauling.”

In addition to requiring a temporary site, disadvantages associated with the new alternative include limited expandability and the need for an estimated more than 10,000 cubic yards of fill, Church wrote.

It was not apparent that anyone associated with any of the possible locations had yet been contacted. Kirsch said that, if they were to move forward with the new alternative, they would contact residents affected by the location of a temporary site.

“We’re going to try to soften the blow to those people, just give them a heads up of what we’re doing and whatever we can do to make it easier for them and make it a little less difficult for those three months we’re constructing that container site,” he said.

In addition to his concerns about building a new road to the previously proposed location, Kirsch said he wondered whether that site could instead be used for something “bigger or better” in the future.

“Why build a huge road and plunk it in front of this great big piece of property?” he asked.

In a Tuesday morning email to The Monitor, Church said he should be able to obtain a cost estimate for the new alternative by the end of the year.

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