YELLOWSTONE COUNTY, Mont. - Yellowstone County is doing a system review of county roads for safety and growth. They are asking the state to do a system review as well.
According to the most recent census data, Yellowstone County is growing in population at a rate of 1.3% year over year. Montana is growing at a rate of 1.7% year over year.
Yellowstone County Civil Engineer Mike Black said they are especially reviewing some roads west of Shiloh Road. He pointed to a significant increase in subdivisions in the last few years on the west end of the county, leading to an increase in traffic.
"As you can tell out on the West End, there's been a huge influx and we see that in our systems," he said. "We see the accidents out there. We see the demand on the roads. These were farm-to-market roads. These were two-lane roads with irrigation ditches, both supply ditches and return ditches."
Black said people in the county may see more roundabouts on the West End to help manage the increase in traffic. He pointed to a roundabout that was built 1 1/2 years ago at 56th and Central using state safety funds. Another roundabout is scheduled to go in at Rimrock and 62nd. Black said construction on that roundabout should start at the end of this year or the beginning of next year.
In the meantime, the county is also working to preserve the existing infrastructure.
"We have increased volume of traffic and increased weight of traffic," he said. "We have restricted some of the roads so that trucks cannot drive on them, only if they are making deliveries to try to make the roads last longer. Yet, we will not try to inhibit farmers trying to get their crops from the field to market. So, it's stretching an infrastructure that's pretty important and pretty valuable."
"We have a great network out there," he continued. "Almost every mile, or every half mile, in some cases, we have connector roads. As we grow, you'll see safety improvements."
Black said there are about 1500 miles of road in the county.