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City of Belgrade considering plans to address traffic woes

“There’s a ton of congestion, especially in the morning peak hours and the afternoon peak hours,” said Camaree Uljua, public works director for the City of Belgrade.
Posted at 5:49 PM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-31 12:33:50-05

BELGRADE — If you’ve driven through Belgrade in the early morning or in the evening time, you’ve likely hit some traffic, which isn’t ideal for folks with places to go and people to see.

“There’s a ton of congestion, especially in the morning peak hours and the afternoon peak hours,” said Camaree Uljua, public works director for the City of Belgrade.

One of the most congested areas in town, she says—

“Is Jackrabbit. It’s the toughest corridor that runs through Belgrade, and the congestion is occurring at the intersection with Main Street and Frontage Road,” said Uljua.

Hundreds of folks from Belgrade took to the comments on Facebook to share their frustrations and hopes for the future when it comes to mitigating this traffic throughout town.

Uljua says they’re working on it.

“Not just at the intersection of Main but other intersections too, like Jackrabbit and Amsterdam Road, and Jackrabbit and Frank Road,” said Uljua.

It’s called the Belgrade Urban Project, which would expand Jackrabbit Lane to five lanes, from Madison Avenue to Main Street. The project will also install an underpass or overpass at its crossing with BNSF's railway. Additionally, the project will include expanded shoulders and sidewalks, increasing safety for pedestrians and non-motorized users, as well as vehicles.

Another project in the works is to install green left-hand turn arrows in these intersections.

Uljua says the design phase of this signal upgrade project has just begun.

“Once the Signal Upgrade Project and the Belgrade Urban Project go into the construction phase, that’ll clear up a lot of congestion,” said Uljua.

But it’s a slow-moving process she says.

The Montana Department of Transportation is the lead agency on this project. However, the City of Belgrade is actively pursuing grant funding opportunities to bring the project to fruition.

The urban project will cost over $20 million. In the meantime, the city is asking folks affected by the Jackrabbit Lane infrastructure to write in letters of support for the project.

A letter of support template is available here and can be customized. Letters of support must be received by the City of Belgrade by February 19, 2024, and can be emailed to: publicworks@belgrademt.gov