A major construction project to upgrade Kagy Boulevard, originally scheduled to be completed in 2017 or 2018, has been delayed for four to five years.
Kagy Boulevard, serving as the primary east-west arterial for south Bozeman, sees traffic delays and congestion throughout the day. At 15,000 daily vehicles, the upper-end of the current design volume, Kagy Boulevard is just barely supporting the current traffic. Post construction, the boulevard is expected to accommodate between 19,000 and 25,000 daily vehicles. Craig Woolard, director of Public Works for the City of Bozeman explained the benefits of the new plan. “We have a design that everyone [all the stakeholders] agrees is the right project to build, with roundabouts at the intersections of 11th, seventh and Willson, with very nice bike and pedestrian facilities and landscaping along the corridor,” he said. The design also includes a pedestrian underpass to Bobcat Stadium.
At an estimated cost of $15 million, Woolard admitted, “We have a very nice design that fits the needs of the city and the campus for the long term; the problem is it’s about twice as much money as we have right now. We need to accumulate money [through taxes and Montana Department of Transportation funds] over the next few years in order to afford the project that we know needs to be done, so that’s why it’s delayed.” The city is waiting because they want the project done correctly, Woolard explained. Understanding that four or five years is a long time to wait for this project, the City of Bozeman is looking at interim solutions that could make pedestrian crossing a little bit easier and reduce congestion in the short term. Or, as Woolard explained, “We think there are things that we can do for not much money that will improve the performance of the boulevard that will buy us time until we accumulate the money to do it right.”