Sawhorse barricades to keep pedestrians safe

Dudely Building tape will go

VIRGINIA CITY – Virginia City’s town council unanimously approved using saw-horse style barricades to shunt pedestrian traffic away from the Creighton Block and Dudley Building and the boardwalk in front of these buildings at their Thursday, May 3 meeting.

The building was deemed unsafe in a 2017 report because water damage has jeopardized the its structure. The north wall in particular could collapse in on itself, according to Mayor Justin Gatewood.

The building and the boardwalk in front of it are currently cordoned off by yellow hazard tape, something a number of local residents didn’t care for – especially businesses located near the building – because they say it prevents pedestrian traffic flow around the Dudley Building.

The sawhorse barricades were an option approved by both the Historical Preservation Advisory Council (HPAC) and the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT), Historical Preservation Officer Jim Jarvis told council prior to their vote.

However, MDOT stipulated the barricades must sport reflective tape on the crossbar.

Council considered both the barricades and jack-fence style barriers to keep pedestrians away from the area, but liked the sawhorse barricades better because they could be fabricated in-house and used in other efforts.

The sawhorse barricades would be placed at both ends of the boardwalk in front of the block  and building.

Several residents attended the meeting to ask about what would be done with the boardwalk and buildings. They were concerned about the impact this would have on surrounding businesses.

Gatewood told them that the wall inside the building had deteriorated to the point of collapse, and that this was a sufficient worry to warrant the city’s action.

“I share your concerns,” Gatewood said, “this speaks to not deferring maintenance.”

In other business, the council

  • Learned that road repairs would have to wait until dryer weather. City Maintenance man Robert “Dude” Erdall, said city streets were in rought shape, but filling potholes with gravel during wet weather would only result in the gravel washing out.
  • Looked into the city’s water supplies - Erdall said seismic crews would visit Virginia City find a new city well. Two recent wells were drilled: One well had good water, but was shallow; the other was not fit for drinking water because it contained arsenic.
  • Approved the extended hanging of a “May is Mental Health Month” banner at the east end of town. Approved banners are to be removed after two weeks, however the council deemed this banner’s message important enough to extend its hang time through the end of May.
  • Discussed the possibility of getting a $75,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Business Development grant. If the city is accepted it will be asked to try to come up with the balance of the funds needed to fund this grant. Gatewood said the city should know my mid-June if it is approved. 
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