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MDT preparing to transform Love Lane intersection into roundabout

Posted at 7:20 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 21:20:20-04

Changes are coming to a deadly intersection in the Bozeman area — which means it will be another big project, bringing delays and different routes.

Signs of work already started popping up Monday, with utility work beginning at the corner of Baxter Lane and Love Lane.

It’s going to be a big operation and those like the Gallatin Valley YMCA nearby, in which the Montana Department of Transportation will be holding an open house about this roundabout, will certainly feel it.

“It’s slow work and, like I say, it’s going to take every bit of four months to complete,” says Craig Walker, engineering project manager for MDT.

Slow work, yes, but the goal: make a dangerous intersection into a smooth-running circle.

“It’ll be new ditches, new drainage, luminaires to light up the new intersections,” Walker says.

And, yes, there will be detours.

“They plan on having a bigger roundabout on the outside to get people through,” Walker says.

For those who drive Baxter frequently, MDT does say the construction won’t take that long, at least until the end of summer, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a slowdown.

And for organizations like the Y, or for those trying to get to the Y, that might be a problem.

“We are actually very excited about the roundabout,” says Andrea Stevenson, CEO of the Gallatin Valley YMCA. “Not excited about the construction that comes with the roundabout.”

Those like Stevenson can see the intersection from the Y windows, as can everyone else who uses it.

“There’s been some very serious accidents at this intersection. It’s becoming busier and busier,” Stevenson says.

And traffic has a way of looking for any possible route to get around construction like this, including through parking lots.

“We have so many children here in the summer,” Stevenson says. “Children are always present around the YMCA and people may not realize that it’s like a school here so we have to take the safety of our kids and campers very seriously.”

So…

“We are actually installing some speed bumps in front of the Y to slow down traffic that may think cutting through the parking lot will be a good idea,” Stevenson says.

But that’s why Stevenson says this project will be a good thing — when it’s done, something Walker adds will happen, despite how much orange we might see.

“Be patient,” Walker says. “Plan for delays and follow the posted speed limits. It’s not only safety for the traveling public but also for the people working on the project.” 

Walker says the MDT open house will be at the YMCA next week from 4 pm to 6 pm on Thursday, July 11.

The project itself is slated to start on July 15.

Walker hopes all that will be left to do after winter shutdown is the chip and seal.