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Contact: Amy Vanderbilt, 406-888-5838
WEST GLACIER, MONT. – Glacier National Park officials today announced the selection of James Talcott Construction, Inc., of Great Falls, Mont., as the successful bidder for the construction of the Apgar Transit Center (ATC). The contract was awarded for approximately $4.2 million. A “Notice to Proceed” is expected to be issued by the National Park Service (NPS) on or about August 4, 2006, with project completion expected by summer 2007.
According to park managers, all bid options were awarded, including the construction of trails from the transit center to Apgar Village and Apgar Campground. The project also includes removing some hazard trees at the Logging Creek Campground. Some of these hazard trees will be used in the construction of the transit center provided they meet the size and grade requirements.
The ATC is part of the park’s long-range program to provide improved visitor experiences and services while reducing impacts caused by the Going-to-the-Sun (Sun) Road rehabilitation. The Going-to-the-Sun Road Citizens Advisory Committee and the NPS both recommended a preferred alternative that ensures continued two-way public access along the entire Sun Road throughout the summer season, while accommodating short delays for road improvements. The road work will be augmented by a new transit system that will be phased into operation beginning in 2007. Superintendent Mick Holm stressed that the new shuttle service will not provide interpretive tours. Visitors desiring to learn about the park are encouraged to participate in one of the park’s existing tour services. The Blackfeet interpretive tours provided by SunTours (800) 786-9220 and the historic red bus interpretive tours provided by Glacier Park, Inc. (406) 892-2525 will continue to provide service in the future.
The new complex will provide public restrooms and public parking for 132 passenger vehicles and 15 recreational vehicles. The transit center will also provide various public information displays and self-service, interactive computer kiosks for trip-planning; however, the transit facility is intended to be a self-service resource with no rangers on duty. Glacier’s west side visitor center will remain at its current location in Apgar Village and will be connected by a trail to the transit hub. A second transit hub will also be established at the east entrance, as part of the St. Mary Visitor Center.
Holm said, “We are delighted, and eager, for the construction of the new west side’s transit center. Scheduled for a May 2007 completion, the transit center marks an important step as we move forward with the Sun Road’s rehabilitation. We are committed to the ‘shared use’ of the entire Sun Road.”
The new transit center will be about 4,200 square feet in size and construction will involve extending all utilities to the site, including water, sewer, power and telephone. Holm added, “We are confident that contractor James Talcott Construction, Inc., will build the Apgar Transit Center in a manner that enables the building to be “gold” certified through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program . This certification is an example of how the park is committed to sustainable concepts.” The LEED program is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Recycling of various natural materials, such as trees and topsoil, is one of the tools utilized in this program.
The ATC will be constructed at the “T-intersection” near Apgar Village and about one mile beyond the entrance station at West Glacier. Once operational, visitors choosing to use the shuttle system will be able to stop at numerous locations, primarily along the Sun Road, including several campgrounds; there will be no additional charge for riding the shuttle.
Construction of the ATC complies with the Sun Road’s environmental impact statement (EIS) and record of decision (ROD). In the ROD, alternative three, the ‘Shared Use’ Alternative, was selected by the NPS. This new transit center is one of the visitor development components defined in this alternative that the NPS will implement to offset impacts caused by the rehabilitation. These improvements will help maintain visitor use and access during road rehabilitation, help minimize impacts to the local and regional economies, and reduce a quantity of vehicles from the road. In April 2006, the Montana Conservation Corps assisted the NPS and Glacier’s revegetation crew by salvaging reusable native plants, trees and topsoil. Some of the plants and soil will be reused in the transit center site restoration and some topsoil and trees will be stockpiled for future park projects. Suitable logs will be re-used within the park for snow poles, corral rails, or cabin restoration projects, as appropriate.
The Sun Road rehabilitation plan, final EIS and ROD are available on the park’s Web site at http://www.nps.gov/glac/plans.htm under the December 13, 2003, listing (ROD) and the May 13, 2003, heading (EIS).