Montana Department of Transportation

Malcolm “Mack” Long, Director

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Public Involvement

9th Street NW and Watson Coulee Road Reconstruction

9th Street NW and Watson Coulee Road Reconstruction

Project Overview

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is working with Sanderson Stewart in Great Falls on the 9th Street NW and Watson Coulee Road Reconstruction project.

The project will reconstruct 9th Street NW from Central Avenue W to the NW Bypass and Watson Coulee Road from Vaughn Road to the NW Bypass. As part of the project, the deteriorating pavement will be replaced, storm drains will be upgraded, and ADA-compliant curb ramps and sidewalks will be installed.

The project is a joint effort between the City of Great Falls and MDT, nominated through the Transportation Improvement Program or TIP process.

Project Map

9th Street NW and Watson Coulee Road Map
9th Street NW and Watson Coulee Road Map.
Click the image for a larger view

Public Involvement

The 9th Street NW/Watson Coulee Road project is currently in Phase I also called the Survey Phase. MDT is actively seeking public comments during this phase of the project. To provide comments, please contact Ella Currier via email at ellac@strategies360.com or via phone at 406-465-7198.

Project Timeline

The design phase of this project will be developed in two phases. The current phase is the Survey Phase (Phase 1) which accurately assesses the need, feasibility, and fundability for conceptual improvements.

Completed tasks for the Survey Phase are:

  • Control Survey
  • Environment Document
  • Traffic Study
  • Ownership Study

Active tasks for the Survey Phase are:

  • Cadastral Survey/Topographic Survey
  • Utility Designations and Coordination
  • Geotechnical Investigation

Upcoming tasks for the Survey Phase are:

  • Future Public Involvement
  • Hydraulic Analysis and Design
  • Preliminary Plans – 30% Design

The next phase of the project will be the Design and Right-of-Way Phase (Phase II). In the Design and Right of Way Phase, MDT and Sanderson Stewart will finalize the design and secure the necessary right-of-way to construct the project.

Construction is tentatively planned for 2026, depending on the completion of the design and the availability of funds.

Engineer to English

TIPs, Transportation Improvement Plans: Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in Billings, Great Falls, and Missoula developed Transportation Improvement Programs (TIPs) in partnership with local and state governments as part of MDT's ongoing commitment to a comprehensive, cooperative transportation planning process.

MPO: A Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is a group in an urban area of more than 50,000 people responsible for transportation planning. It is a partnership between a locale and the federal government that helps guide investment decisions in projects like this one. MPOs are involved in identifying opportunities to improve safety, planning improvements, and analyzing trends.

Three metropolitan planning organizations serve Montana, in Missoula, Billings, and Great Falls. You can learn more about each on pages 6 and 7 of MDT's TranPlan 21, the 20-year Long Range Transportation Plan summary.

Right of Way: Right of way consists of the right to make a 'way' over a piece of land. MDT may acquire right-of-way by buying a piece of land or purchasing an ‘easement’ for specific transportation or public utility use (fiber internet, natural gas, power lines, etc.). Most easements are on private property though some are owned by the state, city, or county. MDT works directly with landowners/managers to ensure the smoothest ROW process possible.

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