Eliminating Road Near Airport Interchange Raises Concerns - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Eliminating Road Near Airport Interchange Raises Concerns

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A road crucial to Belgrade businesses may no longer be built as part of the Belgrade interchange project.

Montana Department Transportation said Gallatin Field Road was only intended to be used as detour route while construction on the interchange was happening. Belgrade businesses say the road was always intended to be part of the project.

"It's a vital part of the project and I'm going to be very disappointed and very upset if they take that road out," said Debra Youngberg, Belgrade Chamber of Commerce Executive Director.

Youngberg said she was surprised to hear that Gallatin Field Road may not be used by airport traffic once the Belgrade interchange is complete.

"We were quite shocked. I have been working with the committee on this interchange project for 12 years now and that road has always been in the plans," Youngberg.

The original design plans for the interchange project was to have two ways to travel in and out of the airport. The Airport Boulevard road would be a roundabout that would direct travelers to Big Sky, Yellowstone, Bozeman or Belgrade. Then, the Gallatin Field Road would direct travelers right to Belgrade.

Youngberg said when plans for the interchange were being made many Belgrade businesses raised concerns.

"They were very concerned about diverting traffic from the airport away from Belgrade," Youngberg. "We were told the road would be there. We have encouraged the project and worked on the project knowing that our businesses would still have access."

Montana Department of Transportation said Gallatin Field road will be used as a detour road while construction is going on, but afterwards the road will be closed.
 
The new road, Airport Boulevard would be the only way in and out of the airport.

"We're concerned with adding a full movement intersection onto the Frontage Road," said Dustin Rouse, Department of Transportation. "The location is only 700 feet away from the main intersection."

Gallatin Field Road is located on airport property. Rouse said the airport is working on coming with a plan to have the road be permanent.

"We'll consider the Gallatin Field Road if they can provide us the details as right in, right out roadway," said Rouse.

"We're hoping that all they do is the turn lanes. The right turn lane would be fine, but my frustration is that they would wait until the project is started," said Youngberg.

The new plan should be completed in two weeks. The interchange project is expected to be complete by this fall.
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