GALLATIN GATEWAY — The Montana Department of Transportation is taking public comment for an early planning-level study.
The study plans to examine Highway 191 starting at the Four Corners intersection of Huffine Lane, Norris and Jackrabbit road, all the way up the canyon to south of Big Sky to Beaver Creek Road.
“Anyone who is familiar with the area understands population is increasing, traffic volumes are increasing and the drive through the corridor is maybe not as easy as it used to be,” said Katie Potts, MDT transportation planner.
Rich Baumann lives and works right off Highway 191 near Four Corner he says he’s noticed more traffic over the years.
“My commutes only like two minutes, but it’s getting so busy. That it’s even difficult to go home at night sometimes when I’m making a right hand turn going with traffic,” said Baumann
“There’s just so much traffic.”
Safety is also a major concern for MDT and the people that frequent the highway.
From 2009-2018, there were 1,077 crashes reported on the highway.
Twenty four percent involved wild animals, and about 22 percent of the crashes occurred on tight curves or narrow sections of the canyon.
While MDT acknowledges growth in Gallatin County is both a concern and contributor to some of the major issues, maintaining the natural beauty of the area and working around the physical constraints of the area is also key.
“A little bit it is directly related to the growth, another thing it’s directly related to is the environmental conditions for the corridor,” said Potts.
“It’s a unique and beautiful area, and we want to make sure we preserve that for the future.”
The next open house will be on Wednesday, January 29th from 3-6:30pm at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center in Big Sky.