Bozeman Traffic to Reopen This Week After Blast

By Beacon Staff

BOZEMAN – City officials in Bozeman expect at least one of the westbound lanes of Main Street to reopen this week after an explosion that destroyed three buildings.

The March 5 blast killed 36-year-old Tara Reistad Bowman.

Investigators determined that a faulty natural gas line caused the explosion. What caused the line to be compromised and how the gas ignited remain unknown, however.

City Manager Chris Kukulski said cleanup can begin in earnest now that insurance and police investigators have had enough time to pick through the site.

“Essentially, nothing had really been done,” Kukulski said. “And that was completely unacceptable.”

The westbound lane is expected to reopen Tuesday.

The American Legion is slated to remove an unstable chimney Monday. The city has told other property owners and their insurers to clean up rubble in front of their businesses by April 8.

It will be a relief to get the street and sidewalk cleared and for business in downtown Bozeman to get back to normal, Kukulski said.

“The economic effect on these businesses is real,” he said.

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