City to address sharp curves on Foothills Blvd

A Google Street View looking west on Foothills Blvd.

The City will look to straighten a series of curves on Foothills Boulevard this coming fiscal year, a plan that could pull millions from the Optional One Percent sales tax, officials say.

This is the year, said City Finance Director Michelle Henderson who addressed the Gillette City Council during their April 27 work session, the first budget meeting of the year.

“This has been in the (Optional One Percent) plan for years and it has been pushed out a number of times,” Henderson said, mostly because the city has had large projects that were deemed a higher priority than addressing two 90-degree turns on Foothills Boulevard.

But with the project, which could cost upwards of $3.5 million and require purchasing access to a vacant plot of land near Bridger Street, the city would be able to create a straighter roadway to cut down on winter traffic crashes and fix a series of drainage issues in the area, according to discussions during the meeting.

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The road won’t be exactly straight, but it will be straighter than it is now, said City Engineer Joe Schoen, who added that, with straightening the road, the area’s drainage should be able to move underground instead of remaining on the surface as it does currently.

The money allocated for the Foothills Boulevard project accounts for approximately 22 percent of the City’s planned Optional One Percent spending and is the largest project in terms of spending this fiscal year, according to the City’s proposed Optional One Percent plan.

Collectively, the city could spend $16.1 million from the total $17 million in Optional One Percent revenue budgeted this fiscal year, leaving a surplus of around $829,000, per the proposed plan.