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Amid uptick in wrong-way driving incidents, new warning signs coming to Gallatin County

NEW WRONG WAY SIGNS .jpg
Posted at 7:05 AM, Feb 09, 2024

BOZEMAN — In less than three months, we’ve seen four arrested wrong-way drivers on I-90, one even killing a woman. The Department of Transportation has recently ordered new wrong-way signs, but will this really solve the issue?

“Right now, the four, I think it's been alcohol-related. And I am getting a little frustrated with the community,” says Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer, explaining that in all of these recent wrong-way driving incidents, alcohol is the leading cause.

“This is an intoxication issue. People need to stop driving when they're intoxicated. Servers need to stop serving people when they're intoxicated,” Springer stressed.

On November 24, 2023, a man was arrested and accused of endangering 37 other vehicles as he drove the wrong way on I-90 between Bozeman and Belgrade.

Another man was arrested on Sunday, December 3rd after allegedly driving westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-90 at the same location.

On January 4, 2024, 22-year-old Laysa Grewell was killed when a wrong-way driver struck her head-on near Three Forks on I-90. An investigation into that incident is ongoing, according to the Montana Highway Patrol, and charges against the driver are expected.

The most recent incident occurred on Feb. 3 when a man was arrested after heading eastbound on I-90 in the westbound lanes near Manhattan.

Although drunk driving seems to be the leading cause of these wrong-way incidents, Springer says there are still steps the Montana Department of Transportation is taking in hopes of lowering rates of wrong-way driving on that stretch of interstate.

“Right now, MDT, working with them they have ordered the signage that should be coming in the next 8-10 weeks,” Springer says.

The nine new wrong-way signs will be installed at four interchanges. The locations are I-90 and 287 at Wheat Montana, Manhattan, Amsterdam, and Belgrade.

“They have a radar on them so if they start going the wrong direction, the signs start to flash and light up,” Springer says, explaining the new features of these wrong-way signs.

Springer also said that these installations are only initial steps to a much larger issue, but for now, these wrong-way signs are the quickest solution to see improvement on the roads.