New East Belgrade interchange, it is official?

Where will the TMC gravel pit geese go?

I90-BZN Interchange
Proposed $37-million I90-BZN interchange

We have been hearing about it for a while now, and rumor has it construction will start soon. A recent conversation with Belgrade Chamber of Commerce divulged the construction plans for a new I-90 straight into BZN interchange. The plan looks likes it will cross through the TMC Gravel Pit (where will all the roosting geese go?) and straight into the current airport entrance. Meanwhile, a temporary road will be built west of the airport.

How will this effect the airport and surrounding businesses? Well, traffic on Frontage road, Bozeman to BZN will certainly decrease. I would venture a guess for residents of downtown Bozeman, taking the 7th street exit to Frontage Rd to the Airport will still be the best option. Those west of town, in the sprawl behind 19th may take Valley Center to Alaska to the airport? Certainly, those coming from West of the airport (all 12 of them) will use the new exit, because let’s be honest, the Amsterdam Road through Belgrade exit takes all of 5-minutes. Clearly the $37-million interchange is of less value…

We all know majority of airport users are heading right down Jackrabbit to Big Sky and West Yellowstone. Maybe they will use the new interchange to hop on I90, drive 1-mile (dodging 70-mph Semis), and then exit off to Jackrabbit?

At one stage we heard the Federal Government pulled $5-million of funding, however, it seems everything is back on track. As it was explained to us, TMC will get there own direct gravel pit access (great news as having their trucks pull out onto Frontage rd can be terrifying), the Railroad will lose 2-whistle stops, and BZN gets a direct portal from the highway.

The airport authority is posting $3-million to this project, and they are likely the only benefiting parties. All for the creation of jobs, but building for the sake of building isn’t the most logical move in this humble servants opinion. I would think that $3-million, heck the $37-million, would be much better spent on advertising and promotion of Bozeman as a tourist destination!

 

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