Helena overpass gains momentum

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 2, 2004

Helena residents are blowing their horns when it comes to road construction.

Motorists in the state’s fastest growing city feel like now is the time to make their voices heard by the state Department of Transportation, and the Civitan Club has taken steps to make sure its voice rings in the ears of state highway shot-callers.

Members of the Helena Civitan Club have launched a petition drive asking state highway officials to build a flyover from Shelby County Highway 52 to U.S. Highway 31 and Interstate 65 to relieve traffic congestion. Civitan members intend to deliver the petitions to the Department of Transportation and the Legislature once completed.

A total of 11,000 petitions have been printed and distributed.

Glover Pugh, chairman of the Helena Civitan Club, took it upon himself to distribute several hundred of the petitions.

Pugh stood at the railroad tracks along Shelby County 52, keeping a running tally of the cars and trucks that rolled past him as he offered petitions to motorists.

Within an hour, Pugh said he counted 1,200 automobiles on the busy roadway.

&uot;I’ve got it written down, 1,200 cars. That’s too much for that little road,&uot; Pugh said.

Pugh and other Civitan Club members are distributing the petitions for an overpass at locations such as grocery stores, gas stations and even intersections.

The initiative of the Civitan Club in Helena is just one example of the growing demand for road projects in Helena.

On Tuesday night, a public hearing was held in Helena City Council Chambers by the Department of Transportation to discuss pending construction on Highway 261.

Helena Mayor Charles &uot;Sonny&uot; Penhale met with Gov. Bob Riley and his chief of staff in February, demanding that the Highway 261 project be replaced in state highway funding