Aside from safety factors, of the options that are capable of reducing deaths and serious injury at the Dern/Springcreek intersection, a roundabout would also be the most cost-effective to construct. The preliminary estimate is $3.9 million to construct the roundabout, improve the grade of the roadway and provide pedestrian crossings and signage at the Dern/Springcreek intersection. The vast majority of this funding will be sourced from federal safety improvement dollars. This means the project may utilize a minimal amount of state transportation funding.

Some in the community have promoted the idea of an overpass. While this could be a potentially viable solution, an overpass comes with massive engineering challenges, significantly more land acquisition than any other solution, and a gigantic price tag. Montana taxpayers would end up footing 10-13% of the total cost. In relation to the Dern/Springcreek project, this would cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more than a roundabout.

Conversely, a roundabout qualifies as a safety project and therefore would be fully funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) using federal dollars and not requiring a state match.

Due to the number of serious crashes at this intersection, the Dern/Springcreek Reconstruction was nominated and funded as a Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) project. HSIP funds are used strictly for safety projects and comprised of all federal dollars. Federal regulations allow the state to fund HSIP projects without any state match, unlike other kinds of highway improvement projects, which require a state match of 10-13 percent. This is unique and means the project does not take from the state budget.

To learn more about alternatives that were studied or to read more about the project history, please review the Question and Answer document.