MDT to Study Basecamp Drive, U.S. Highway 93 Intersections on Kalispell Bypass

Study will begin this summer; Foys Lake Interchange construction traffic to shift July 12

By Maggie Dresser
The Kalispell bypass in south Kalispell. Beacon File Photo

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will conduct another study this summer and fall for the southern end of the Kalispell Bypass at the Basecamp Drive and U.S. Highway 93 intersection, which was identified as a traffic issue.  

“The study is in the preliminary phase right now; we’re just getting started,” Jacquelyn Smith of MDT said. “We had a traffic study completed in 2019 and it identified there’s a bit of a bottleneck occurring at Highway 93 and the bypass.”

In 2019, KLJ Engineering studied the Basecamp intersection and presented potential intersection options to the public to replace the existing roundabout, which includes three separate options with a four-lane overpass or no change to the existing roundabout.

The study was originally part of the Airport Road project, but the study found that additional traffic analysis was needed at the bypass, Basecamp Drive and Highway 93.

“We need to figure out exactly what needs to be done at both intersections; from there we’ll do cost estimates and from there we’ll develop a schedule to create the final designs,” Smith said.

The existing roundabout was originally constructed as an interim project with two lanes of traffic with future plans to be widened when funding became available.

“The intersections were not intended to be the long-term fix,” Smith said.

MDT plans to convert the southern section of the bypass into a four-lane roadway. Officials will begin seeking comments from the public this summer and fall.

“We do our best to take the comments into consideration and take a look at the data and try to make the best decisions we can and make safety the best priority,” Smith said.

Additionally, construction crews continue to make progress at the Foys Lake Road interchange, with shifting traffic to begin the week of July 12.

Travelers passing through the work zone will be directed onto the ramps instead of through the existing roundabout configurations, with flaggers and signs present and speeds reduced.

Workers will also be paving the roundabout on the Foys Lake Road side of the interchange, and the on- and off- ramps will also be paved. Walls will be installed for the overpass that will go into full construction later this summer.

Most of the construction will be complete at the end of 2021 with crews returning briefly in spring 2022.

MDT and LHC Construction are holding virtual public meetings to answer questions about the Foys Lake Interchange construction on the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m.

The public can join the Zoom meeting at www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/kalispellbypass.

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