East Belgrade Interchange-Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport honored with national recognition
Morrison-Maierle is pleased to announce that its East Belgrade Interchange-Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has earned a National Recognition Award in the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) 2016 Engineering Excellence Awards competition in Washington, D.C. The National Recognition Award is a prestigious distinction honoring projects that demonstrate exceptional achievement in engineering.
The East Belgrade Interchange / Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport projects solved many safety, development, and transportation problems for an area of Montana that is experiencing unprecedented growth. The 2000 Census listed Belgrade with a population of 5,728. According to the 2006 Gallatin County Growth Plan, the area is expected to reach 20,000 by 2020.
Not only are many people relocating to this part of Montana, but it is a world-renowned tourist destination and serves as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park. Nearby Bozeman is also home to Montana State University, which has broken its enrollment record nine times over the past 10 years.
This influx was causing traffic congestion in downtown Belgrade at a four-way stop, and at an adjacent Interstate 90 off-ramp. Coupled with the roadway troubles, a train track, which runs parallel to the interstate, frequently required emergency service providers were forced to wait for trains as there were no grade-separated crossings in Belgrade.
Increased traffic was not the only issue. Studies showed strong growth at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BYIA) with twice the number of passengers since 2011 and a 46% increase in the last five years alone. BYIA enplaned 500,011 passengers for the 12-month period ending August 31, 2015, and became the ninth busiest airport in the Northwest Mountain Region. Tackling the traffic issues within Belgrade and the ever-growing enplanements for BYIA resulted in a project that created a cost-effective solution for the betterment of Belgrade and its residents.
To understand the challenges, Morrison-Maierle prepared an engineering operational analysis for the proposed I-90 interchange on the east side of Belgrade near BYIA. During the study, Morrison-Maierle evaluated future traffic conditions and intersection operations, and identified and evaluated alternative interchange configurations for environmental review. Working with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) staff, Morrison-Maierle proposed a $16.4 million compressed diamond (dog-bone) interchange that included a new crossroad and its connections, reconstruction of old Highway 10, two interstate bridges, a railroad shoofly and underpass structure, two-lane roundabouts at the interchange ramp terminals, intersection signalization and street lighting, and extensive storm drainage improvements. In addition, complementary improvements to the access roadways at BYIA were carefully coordinated between the two owners—MDT and the Gallatin Airport Authority.
In addition to MDT and the Airport Authority, Morrison-Maierle worked with Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, Gallatin County, the City of Belgrade, Montana Rail Link, and several community members, adjacent landowners, and groups who collectively spent months working to make this project possible. Funding for the project came from a wide variety of resources including Montana’s Federal Aid funds, two congressional earmarks, a USDOT 2012 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) discretionary grant, and significant local agency funds.
Balancing two projects at once, Morrison-Maierle used an accelerated design development plan for this project. The BYIA roadway modifications were sequenced to provide a paved detour to the airport while the interchange project and new main entrance to the airport was being constructed. Upon completion, a major component of the area’s transportation master plan is now constructed. Specifically, a new interchange is in place and Dry Creek Road is now extended directly to old Highway 10, relieving Belgrade’s downtown commercial center of some of the through traffic.
To read more about our work at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, click here.