KLJ Receives 2022 Engineering Excellence Award

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KLJ Receives 2022 Engineering Excellence Award

KLJ is pleased to announce that we were honored with the 2022 Engineering Excellence Award from the Montana Chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC/MT) for our work on the Kalispell, Mont. Core and Rail Redevelopment project. Each project is rated on uniqueness and/or innovative application of new or existing techniques; 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.

In its first phase, the project converted a reclaimed gravel pit (brownfield) into the new Glacier Rail Park, a rail-served industrial park, and relocated Kalispell's final remaining rail-served businesses from downtown to the rail park. This enabled the second phase of the project: replacement of the old tracks running through the city with a 1.6-mile linear park and trail along with a new north-south “complete street”.

The project was completed in partnership with the City of Kalispell, Flathead County Economic Development Authority (FCEDA), US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfields, and US Department of Transportation’s (DOT) “Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery” (TIGER) program, Kalispell Business Improvement District, Kalispell Downtown Association, Alta Planning + Design, business leaders, and private citizens.

The Kalispell community, including residents and business owners, played a significant role in determining the course of the project. In 2010, the City engaged business owners and residents to better understand their needs for the Core Area, using an EPA Brownfields Area Wide Planning Pilot grant. The result was the Core Area Plan, outlining a new vision for the historic railroad corridor and, eventually, creating a public-private partnership between the City of Kalispell, FCEDA, Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), Watco, Cenex Harvest States, US EPA Brownfields, US Economic Development Administration (USEDA), and the US DOT, with all partners committing funds to the project. In 2015, Kalispell was awarded a $10 million TIGER grant, the largest federal piece to move forward with the $25 million transformative project.

“This project is the result of 11 years of contributions from public and private partners. The goal was to create an urban center in Kalispell’s Core Area, reorganized around the new trail, capable of spurring development,” said Mark Rohweder, PE, KLJ project manager for the project. “We’re seeing a rejuvenated downtown in Kalispell. It’s attracting high-density housing, new retail, restaurants, and lifestyle amenities. At the same time, we preserved and enhanced rail access for Flathead Valley businesses in the new Glacier Rail Park.”

Public and private investments directly related to the Core and Rail Redevelopment project, as well as those indirectly related, but situated immediately beside or very close to the project, include: 

  1. Glacier Rail Park
  2. CHS Mountain West Co-op commercial development at Glacier Rail Park
  3.  Northwest Drywall commercial development at Glacier Rail Park
  4. Bridgewater Commercial Development
  5. The Silos development project (Ruis Construction)
  6. Hayden Tanner Commercial and Residential Development
  7. Depot Place Apartments
  8. SunRift Beer Company Commercial Development
  9. 4th & Zuri Commercial and Residential Development
  10.  Northern Plastics Commercial Development (planned)
  11. Kalispell Parkline Trail