On Thursday, February 18, 2010, the City of Helena will open a significant portion of the 2.5-mile Hillsboro Parkway [from County Road (CR) 52 to County Road (CR) 91]. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. The balance of the road, which is being finished now, will include improvements to CR 17 and should open soon.

The project is a $9.9 million public/private partnership between the city of Helena and U. S. Steel. The Parkway is a limited access road with four lanes at CR 52 and CR 17 connected by two travel lanes in-between and reminds you of a scenic ride through the country as you cross the ridges and valleys familiar in Helena.

The project includes a 2.5-mile road, the addition of turn lanes on CR 52, over a mile of paved multi-use trails, and a pedestrian tunnel under CR 52 connecting Hillsboro, a new home community, with the new Helena middle school. The CR 52 to CR 91 portion of Hillsboro Parkway opening on February 18th will provide alternate access to the new middle school. The project also includes a connection road to the Old Cahaba subdivision at Stone Creek Drive providing additional access to the middle school. This connection road was recently opened to the public.

The 12-foot wide trails are constructed on historic mining railroad grades, linked with a series of pedestrian tunnels, the largest of which – a 24-foot wide, 10-foot tall and 100-foot long arched pedestrian tunnel with a sandstone facade and limestone coping located at CR 52. The trails are nearing completion and should be ready for visitors in early spring.

Helena Mayor Charles “Sonny” Penhale says, “We value the relationship that the city has with U. S. Steel. Their commitment to complete the project has been solid, even in a down economy. Hillsboro Parkway gives the public better access to the middle school and will help with congestion at the Hwy 17, Hwy 52, and Hwy 261 intersection. The parkway was funded by U. S. Steel – something the City would have been unable to accomplish by itself. The construction of the parkway will drive commercial development in the future and will add revenue to the city.”

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