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Longtime 'bumpy' road projects on Bozeman's west side nearing completion

Cottonwood, Durston-Ferguson construction continues, with Cottonwood finishing next week
Posted at 2:45 PM, Jun 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-25 16:45:45-04

BOZEMAN — We were there back when construction closed many roads on the west side of Bozeman more than a year ago.

Now the end is in sight.

Even before COVID-19, trying to drive down Cottonwood Road or the intersection of Durston-Ferguson while that has been under construction, becoming a new roundabout, has been a bit of a bumpy challenge.

Now with summer construction underway and weather permitting, there’s a light at the end of the road.

“People getting oil pans ripped, mufflers,” said Bill Pratt, who lives along Cottonwood, when talking about the things he used to see when the potholes still existed.

“There are tons of children in this neighborhood,” said Celine Valentin, who lives near Cottonwood and Durston. “I see little three, four year olds running around on their little bikes all the time.”

“It hurts my teeth,” said Catherine Holmes, who also experienced Cottonwood pre-construction. “Then you cringe.”

Looking back at the history of Cottonwood Road is rough.

“They were very rough and they didn’t have complete pedestrian facilities,” says Bob Murray, project engineer for the City of Bozeman. “They didn’t have bike lanes.”

That was back in the summer of 2019, where we routinely found lost hubcaps and issues like detours through quiet neighborhoods.

But looking at it today...

“They completely built the east lanes,” Murray says. “They didn’t exist prior to this and they completely reconstructed the west lanes which had failed the previous spring.”

The $5 million project has transformed Cottonwood.

But it’s still closed, something project engineer Bob Murray says won’t be for much longer.

“It’s very significant,” Murray says. “I know all of the people out on the west end of town are completely tired of the detours. I can understand.”

Get in your car from there and drive a minute to the east, you’ll find the Durston-Ferguson roundabout.

It has a ways to go.

“We’ve been having a hard time getting the contractor out to finish this last bit of striping,” Murray says.

MTN News spoke with some folks using a nearby playground.

They still understand the need but traffic detouring through their street still has them concerned.

But the good news: Cottonwood is days from the finish line.

It’s set to open next week.

“Cottonwood is a little further ahead,” Murray says.

That’s right. Tuesday.

Murray says all that’s left on Cottonwood is to dot the i’s, this time, with paint.

“And I can’t wait to dot them,” Murray says.

Another crew is working independently of the city’s two projects on north Cottonwood, near the new Gallatin High School.

Murray says that will also be opened up by Tuesday next week.

As for Durston-Ferguson, that’s expected to be done around August 1st.

“There’s still a number of things to do,” Murray says. “They have to do all of the signing, the striping, some chip seal on that project, the lighting, some concrete work at the roundabout.”