We take a look at the economic impact of the Kalispell Bypass - ABC FOX Montana Local News, Weather, Sports KTMF | KWYB

We take a look at the economic impact of the Kalispell Bypass

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KALISPELL -

Before the bypass opened in October of 2016, rumors swirled that the bypass could take business away from downtown Kalispell.  The goal of the bypass being to reroute truck traffic around downtown Kalispell.

The most expensive project in MDT history we spoke with Ed Toavs with the Montana Department of Transportation to see how the $135 million dollar bypass has impacted the city of Kalispell. 

Toavs tells us, "We don't expect to see a drop off if we have more trucks use the bypass."   

According to Toavs' economic analysis, jobs and revenue have actually gone up in the past sixteen years.  In 2001 Kalispell had 142 jobs.  In the year 2016 1,775 were in the Kalispell area.

Another benefit of the bypass is creating Kalispell into a destination location.  Without the noise pollution of the large trucks the city of Kalispell can create a more walkable downtown, hopefully boosting local businesses.

Toavs explains, "In fact the intent to open that up to more vehicles that would like to use downtown as a more destination."

With a push to make downtown Kalispell a destination point Toavs tells us what new changes you could be seeing within the next ten years.  One called the Kalispell County Courthouse Couplet.  The idea of this re construction would be to turn the one lane street around the Kalispell County Courthouse into a two lane street.  Toavs tells us through the height of tourist season, downtown Kalispell can have 40,000 vehicles pass through it. 

Toavs says, "You know four through lanes two north bound and two south bound lanes from just south of the courthouse to just center street."

Widening the single lane into two lanes could help with this heavy traffic flow.

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