Montana Department of Transportation

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Fairview – West (Phase I)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why complete an Alternative Alignment Study?

MT 201 is being evaluated for reconstruction and a potential new alignment due to the large influx in traffic volumes, especially an increase in truck traffic, due to oil development in the area. Additionally, several components of MT 201 do not meet current roadway design standards for a facility of this type. Some components not meeting current design standards include:

  • Vertical alignment (grades)
  • Pavement width (24’ versus 32’)

An Alternative Alignment Study is a planning-level assessment undertaken before conducting project-level environmental compliance activities under the National and Montana Environmental Policy Acts (NEPA/MEPA). The study involves early communication with interested parties and the public to help identify needs, constraints, and opportunities for a road alignment shift and to determine if it is feasible given available resources and local support.

By facilitating early identification of constraints through coordination with local government and other stakeholders, screening of possible realignments - and/or the elimination of infeasible alignments - time and money spent on subsequent projects can be reduced.

Who is conducting this study?

The Montana Department of Transportation is conducting this study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and in coordination with the City of Fairview and Richland County. Robert Peccia and Associates (RPA) is assisting MDT to complete the planning effort by the end of August, 2015.

What steps will be taken during the study?

Steps in the study process are described below. Public involvement opportunities will be included throughout the planning process.

  1. Develop Environmental Scan Report
    An Environmental Scan Report will be completed to identify any existing environmental resources and conditions within the study area that may be potentially affected by transportation-related improvements or that may influence the identification of new alignments for the segment of interest on MT 201. The environmental scan area encompasses a 3.6-square-mile area which generally includes the north half of the Town of Fairview and adjoining lands north and west of the community.
  2. Identify Possible Road Alignments Using Quantm Software
    After the Environmental Scan Report is completed, a computer software program called Quantm will be used to identify up to five possible new road alignments to investigate further in an alternative alignment analysis. Quantm allows for a comprehensive analysis of many factors that results in consideration and identification of all feasible alignments.
  3. Prepare Draft Alternative Alignment Study Report
    A draft report will be developed that documents and compares the five alignments, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. This includes a comparison of reconstructing the road at its existing location. The draft report will also include any public and local government input.
  4. Facilitate Informational Meeting
    After the draft report has been prepared, an informational meeting will be held in Fairview to review the process and the content of the draft report, and to again seek input from the public.
  5. Prepare Final Alternative Alignment Study Report
    The study report will be finalized after considering comments from members of the public and other interested parties. Recommendations from the study will assist MDT in identifying whether a possible road realignment of MT 201 as it enters Fairview is feasible, or if efforts should be made to reconstruct MT 201 on its existing alignment.

What happens next?

The study will consider existing resource impacts, safety, constructability and costs associated with potential alignments of MT 201 as it enters Fairview. This early study process is distinct from the environmental compliance, design, and construction phases of an individual project. Any future steps will be determined by MDT in conjunction with FHWA, the City of Fairview and Richland County.

How can I become involved in the study?

The public is encouraged to participate in the planning process. An informational meeting will take place during late-August, 2015. The date, time, and location for this meeting will be announced in the future through local media and this website. Members of the public may also review information posted on this website and provide input throughout the study. See "How can I stay informed?" below.

Public comment will be considered to better understand potential issues, concerns, opportunities, and constraints with a potential road realignment of MT 201 north of Fairview.

How can I stay informed?

MDT encourages members of the public to join the study mailing list by submitting contact information to Jeff Key via or by submitting a comment using the online comment form.

Study information will be published on this website, in local media venues, and via newsletters throughout the planning study process.