Over the course of this year, the city of Bozeman has worked on developing a preliminary design and fiscal plan to expand Kagy Boulevard. The tentative plan includes expanding the road to four lanes and adding separate bike and pedestrian lanes along with roundabouts at major intersections. The expansion would take place beginning at the intersection of South 19th Ave. and Kagy Blvd. to S Willson Ave. and South 3rd Ave.
The public works director of Bozeman, Mitch Reister, told 7KBZK News, “The general purpose of the project is to relieve congestion and to improve bike and pedestrian facilities.” Kagy Boulevard currently has two to three lanes and is congested with traffic during rush hour, especially when school at MSU is in session.
Talk of expanding Kagy Blvd. has been persisting for decades as both the city and MSU continue to grow. “This has been in the transportation plan really since the late ‘50s to have this be the dominant east-west arterial in the south part of town,” Reister said. Based on the current expansion plan, the total estimated cost is around $17 million, with federal funding for the project summing up to around $13 million, which will leave the city of Bozeman needing to fund around $4 million of the project.
Kagy is a funnel for bus transportation for MSU students getting to and from campus which, according to Reister, reiterates the need for an expansion for multi-lane facilities. “We really need to have multi-lane facilities so that buses can get in and out of traffic. If we don’t have those multi-lane facilities it makes it that much more challenging to have transit that’s functional,” Reister said.
Many residents have raised concerns about the project, claiming it will encourage more car travel than other less-congesting and polluting modes of transportation, and that some neighborhoods will be isolated during the construction.
Commissioner Jennifer Madgic expressed her concerns regarding the project during a December 2020 commission meeting. “The design we have right now has the potential to bifurcate our community, and I’m not sure that’s in the best interest of our community right now,” Madgic said, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.
Construction is projected to begin on the expansion in 2025 under the management of the Montana Department of Transportation.