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Improvement projects for Highway 191 set to begin this spring—will they help?

US 191 PAVEMENT PROJECT.jpg
Posted at 6:32 PM, Mar 22, 2024

GALLATIN GATEWAY — Shane Rogg has lived in the Gallatin Gateway area his whole life. Now he’s a truck driver, hauling asphalt for Apex. He drives 191 through Gallatin Gateway regularly and has seen the negative effects the population spike has had on road conditions and traffic. I asked his opinion on the new 191 pavement preservation project.

“There's been so many accidents, major accidents here. I've seen a helicopter out here airlifting people like twice,” says Rogg. “I don't know how much it's gonna help; we need a light here. We have all the traffic from Big Sky and sometimes it takes 20 minutes to cross the road,” says Rogg.

Friday morning, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) announced that construction for the Gallatin Canyon Pavement Preservation and Safety Improvements project begins this spring. There will be two different segments on US 191.

The first segment is between Zachariah Lane and half a mile north of Gallatin Gateway, by Gooch Hill Road. MDT plans to add a left-turn bay, shoulder widening, and replace an existing bridge with a box culvert. The second segment is between Storm Castle Road and the Lava Lake Trailhead. This segment will undergo pavement preservation work to extend the service life of the roadway.

In a press release, Dave Cunningham, MDT’s Butte District Construction Engineer says:

The US 191 corridor between Bozeman and Big Sky has experienced significant traffic increases in the past several years, Because of this, roadway segments are beginning to deteriorate and require maintenance and improvement. Projects like this one ensure Montana’s roadways remain in good condition for years to come.

And although Rogg says improving the road conditions is a step in the right direction, there’s still a bigger issue at hand.

“We need to take care of the people that have been here, you know?”