As Montana’s only city without an interstate, Kalispell had experienced heavy commercial, tourist, and local traffic in the heart of its downtown for decades. The city serves as a crucial link between US 93, Montana’s primary western north to south highway, and also US 2, a major east to west route across the entire state. Plans for a bypass, to reduce travel delays and enhance the historical downtown, were decades in the making, with a west-side option selected in 1992 as part of a region-wide environmental impact statement (EIS) for US 93.
KLJ integrated our comprehensive road design services with a thorough understanding of the client’s contracting process and construction sequencing, which resulted in the final connecting project integrating with roads, trails, and storm drain systems that were planned and built eight years earlier. The project team anticipated the client’s needs, offered contingency and interim solutions, and then provided the design services to fit within tight funding deadlines. KLJ’s ability to include traffic, structural, hydraulic, and environmental expertise seamlessly into MDT’s project delivery enabled the delivery of multiple construction segments and assisted in leveraging federal funding. Our team also led the public involvement efforts and assisted MDT in obtaining funding.
KLJ has led public involvement efforts since 2006, including county and city coordination.
The Kalispell Bypass provides a much-needed new road that enables economic growth, increases mobility including access to the regional park, the community college and new development areas, reduces travel times and congestion in downtown Kalispell, and enhances the existing trail system. To mitigate new roadway impacts into this urban area, the project has provided traffic noise mitigation, replaced wetlands, and improved storm water quality for both the road and for surrounding areas of Kalispell.
In 2016, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Montana (ACEC of Montana) recognized the Kalispell Bypass – North Segment and Montana Rail Link Bridge No. 207 Truss Rehabilitation projects for engineering excellence. Projects are selected based on the organization’s rating of uniqueness and/or innovative applications, future value to the engineering profession and perception by the public, social, economic, and sustainable development considerations, complexity, and successful fulfillment of client/owner’s needs, including schedule and budget.