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What is a Corridor Study?

A Corridor Study is a planning-level assessment occurring before project-level activities and environmental compliance under the National and Montana Environmental Policy Acts (NEPA/MEPA). This process provides a link between early transportation planning and environmental compliance efforts, and involves a planning–level evaluation of safety, operational, and environmental conditions to identify needs and constraints.

MDT can save time and money in subsequent project phases by facilitating early identification of constraints through coordination with local governments, resource agencies, and other stakeholders; screening of possible improvement options; and elimination of infeasible options.

A planning study considers multiple improvement options to address the needs and objectives within a study area. The planning process is distinct from a NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance document and from design, right-of-way acquisition, and construction phases for an individual project.

For additional information, please see MDT's planning study process.

What does a "pre-NEPA/MEPA planning study" mean?

The National and Montana Environmental Policy Acts (NEPA/MEPA) require state and federal agencies to disclose impacts resulting from state and federal actions. In the context of transportation projects, the NEPA/MEPA process is intended to assist officials in making transportation decisions, while considering the human and natural environment and the need for a safe and efficient transportation network. The NEPA/MEPA process ensures that information about anticipated transportation project impacts is available to the public before decisions are made and executed.

The corridor study is a pre-NEPA/MEPA study that involves a planning-level assessment of the study area. The planning process will include a review of potential environmental issues and concerns. The results of this planning-level environmental review could be used to assist in later NEPA/MEPA environmental compliance phases for an individual project.

Who conducted this study?

The Montana Department of Transportation conducted this study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and in coordination with Gallatin County and the cities of Bozeman and Belgrade. Robert Peccia and Associates (RPA) assisted MDT to complete the planning effort.

What happens next?

The corridor study considered multiple improvement options within the study area. This early planning process is distinct from the environmental compliance, design, and construction phases of an individual project. Any future steps will be determined by MDT in conjunction with FHWA, Gallatin County, Belgrade, and Bozeman.

How was the public involved in the study?

The public was encouraged to participate in the planning process. Three informational meetings took place during the study. The date, time, and location for these meetings was announced prior to each event through local media and this website. Members of the public were able to review information posted on this website and provide input throughout the study.

Public comment was considered to better understand potential issues, concerns, opportunities, and constraints. The advisory committee recommended improvement options that best met the corridor needs and objectives developed through the planning process.