The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is considering improvements west of Kalispell at the intersection of Batavia Lane and US Highway 2 (US 2). The project is needed to improve traffic flow, vehicle safety, and safety for school children crossing US 2.
As of March 2022, the project team is moving forward with a roundabout configuration and the engineering design is now underway. Project funding has not yet been identified and no timeline for construction is available at this time.
Virtual Public Question and Answer Session
Prior to the roundabout decision, RPA, MDT, and partners hosted a Q&A session aimed at collecting public feedback and sharing initial project plans. A recording of the April 28, 2021, virtual question and answer session is available here.
The project area includes the intersection of Batavia Lane and US 2, approximately four miles west of Kalispell. Smith Valley School is on the southwest corner of the intersection, and Kelly Rae’s Gas Station and Convenience Store are northwest. The Great Northern Historical Trail, Ashley Creek, and the Batavia Waterfowl Production Area are located just to the east of the intersection. An access road to the Waterfowl Production Area is also located across from Batavia Lane.
Near the Batavia/US 2 intersection also lies the Dern/Springcreek/US 2 intersection. Many of the same challenges plague both Batavia and Dern/Springcreek intersections. In the summer of 2021, MDT and LHC crews constructed a roundabout at the Dern/Springcreek intersection to provide safe access through the area. A video of recent traffic flows provides an illustration of how traffic is likely to flow through the proposed Batavia roundabout.
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What are the issues at this intersection?
In 2014, the Federal Highway Administration finalized a Road Safety Audit that identified the US 2/Batavia Lane intersection as a location in need of safety and operational improvements. Primary safety issues included multiple crashes at the intersection and near-miss accidents at the pedestrian crosswalk on US 2 providing access to the Smith Valley School. In addition, the audit found high-speed southbound right-turn movements onto Batavia Lane accessing Kelly Rae’s Gas Station and Convenience Store, obstructed sight distance due to parked vehicles, and confusing signage, all of which created safety concerns.
What options have been considered to date?
The audit identified a range of possible improvement options such as speed evaluations, educational campaigns, increased law enforcement, speed feedback signs and intersection modifications to reduce speeds, installation of flashing beacons, and roadway lighting.
In 2016, MDT conducted a traffic study determine if additional intersection control would address the findings from the safety audit. The study evaluated both traffic signal and roundabout options. The study found that while both options would reduce traffic delays on Batavia Lane, a roundabout would best address the safety issues outlined in the 2014 audit.
Where are we with improving the Batavia Lane/US 2 Intersection?
After careful consideration of safety and operational needs, and following extensive public outreach efforts, the project team has identified a single-lane roundabout as the most appropriate option for the intersection.
Engineering firm Robert Peccia and Associates (RPA) will develop a final design for the intersection utilizing engineering standards and information gathered through public outreach. The project team will continue to work with key stakeholders such as Smith Valley School, Kelly Rae’s, Smith Valley Fire Department, Montana Motor Carriers and the Montana Logging Association to ensure the design of the roundabout will meet the needs of all users.
When will construction start?
Funding for construction of this project has not yet been identified. It is anticipated that funding will be secured and construction can begin in the next five to seven years.