Why does US Highway 89 south of Livingston need to be widened?
US 89 south of Livingston was originally constructed in 1961 as a two-lane highway connecting to Gardiner, the northern gateway to Yellowstone National Park. To improve safety and traffic flow, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) has designed the project for widening of the road to include a center turn lane along the heavily traveled, densely populated 3-mile stretch between Livingston's south end and East River Road (S 540).
In addition to constructing a new center turn lane, existing shoulders will be widened, lighting will be placed at the junction of US 89 and S 540, and shoulder rumble strips will be added. The adjacent pedestrian/bicycle path that runs the length of the project will also be resurfaced. At the request of Motor Carrier Service (MCS), MDT also will construct a pullout area with a small cement pad just north of the junction on the east side of the road. This will provide a safe place for truckers to rest as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation. It will also be used as a permanent location to temporarily weigh commercial motor vehicles.
This project was identified as a priority in the MDT Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study, published in 2014. Once completed, the road-widening project will meet the schedule anticipated in the planning study.
When will construction for the Livingston South road-widening project begin?
Weather permitting, the project is expected to begin mid-March 2022, with the majority of work completed in five months, by the end of August 2022. The project has already completed a rigorous design phase to review and finalize project plans. Among the tasks that project teams have performed during this phase include: reviewing past research from surveys of the project area; assessing the surrounding terrain (both above and below ground); presenting and adjusting plans based on public input; determining the feasibility of various construction features; evaluating environmental impacts; and creating cost-effective detailed plans to guide construction. MDT has awarded the construction contract to Riverside Contracting, Inc.
What will MDT do to minimize the impact of the project on local residents & businesses?
MDT has reached out to virtually every impacted stakeholder along the route during the planning process, taking their comments into consideration in the construction plan. MDT will employ all feasible means to minimize the impact of the Livingston South road-widening project on local residents and businesses, the greater Paradise Valley community, the traveling public (including Yellowstone National Park visitors), and other stakeholders. This planning includes the following steps during construction:
- While single-lane closures will occur some days, at least one lane of US 89 will be open at all times.
- Two-way traffic will be maintained during non-working hours.
- Access to businesses and local residencies will be maintained at all times.
- While there will be construction noise during daytime hours, no nighttime construction is anticipated at this time.
- Work schedules are anticipated to be Mondays through Fridays, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time, however these hours may vary depending upon work operations and weather.
Will there be a detour during construction hours?
The location of the project does not accommodate a detour. Due to the proximity of the Yellowstone River and the general topography of the area, there are no nearby roads to detour traffic away from the construction area. However, while delays should be expected, at least one lane of US 89 in the construction zone will always be open. Two-way traffic will be maintained during non-working hours, which are expected to include nights and weekends.
What about wildlife accommodations in this area?
MDT has researched and investigated several wildlife accommodations features for this project. Due to the density of residential properties and businesses along this stretch of US 89 and the high water table, wildlife separation options such as fencing or underpasses were not considered viable. An animal detection and driver warning system was evaluated for a portion of the project area, but this was determined to not be feasible for inclusion in the project at this time. MDT will revisit wildlife and vehicle collision patterns after completion of the project and see if a viable option is available, if needed.
What other factors were considered during the design and construction of the Livingston South project?
MDT goes through an exhaustive planning and development process to make sure a full range of engineering, environmental, and cost criteria are considered in its construction project designs. Public safety, efficient traffic flow, cost-effective use of taxpayer funds, and stakeholder input are all key factors to consider—for the Livingston South project and other construction projects around the state. Stakeholders were encouraged to offer input on design and other considerations throughout the planning phase of the process.
What is the total cost of this project?
The awarded bid is $7.2 million.
How can you stay informed about this project?
The public and local stakeholders will continue to be kept informed during construction on this project. As with all its road construction projects, MDT is committed to and encourages public involvement. Regular updates on construction progress will be posted on MDT's Livingston South webpage under Project Updates.
A mailing will be sent to stakeholders and local property owners prior to the start of construction. Stakeholders who attended the July 2021 Livingston South US 89 Open House or who otherwise signed up for project updates will be contacted directly on a regular basis.Those interested in the project can text LIVSOUTH to 22999 for email updates. A dedicated phone line is also available at 406-998-7258.