Update March 7, 2023
The pre-design process for the Fowler expansion has recently been completed. This included the initial survey, environmental assessment, traffic projections, community input, and concept design. The next step is the design portion which will take the project through to bid documents. The design work, which is being completed by Sanderson Stewart, is the main focus of this next phase.
The project design will consist of a two-lane roadway, Fowler, with turn lanes where needed from Huffine to Oak. There will be a separate shared-use path on at least one side of the roadway with a sidewalk. A new traffic signal will be put in at the Babcock intersection and a roundabout at the Durston intersection. These are decisions that have already been made. There will be more opportunities for community comment and contribution as they work through the site and design constraints during this next phase.
For years there have been discussions about the expansion of Fowler Avenue on Bozeman’s west side. With the growth, the city has seen it is coming closer to fruition. There is no question Bozeman needs another north-to-south corridor through town. However, with any big change, there will be hurdles to get through.
The pre-design stage involves connecting Fowler Avenue from Huffine to Oak Street. Right now Fowler crosses Huffine and then dead-ends at Babcock Avenue. Here there is a small, tree-lined trail and then the road starts up again with a small section through Fowler Place Subdivision. Once you hit Durston it again reaches a dead-end. Backing to Harvest Creek are two parcels of open land until you hit the incomplete roundabout at Davis Lane. Davis, which would be the continuation of Fowler, runs all the way to Valley Center Rd. With several subdivisions, access to the Bozeman Gateway Shopping center, and Billings Clinic all in this area, the extension would provide much-needed access to this area of town.
With another north-to-south corridor on the northwest side, a lot of traffic could be alleviated from surrounding neighborhood streets. However, there are concerns about how it could affect subdivisions such as Fowler Place Subdivision, Valley Unit, and Harvest Creek which will be impacted by the project. There have also been environmental concerns raised over the small trail right off of Babcock, and the large trees and open space in the area.
Currently, the city is working on concept design and resident input during this pre-design phase. They intend to have focus groups, field trips, and discussions to determine lane configuration as well as bike/pedestrian paths. They also have to gain right-of-way through some parcels of land that have not been annexed into the city. Further down the road decisions will need to be considered about potential roundabouts or traffic signals at both Babcock and Durston. The early design phase and community engagement should last through summer 2022 with the earliest construction start being Spring of 2023 and multiple phases of construction.
Check back here for more updates as the project progresses.
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