O-Street-to-Bennett Connector Project
The City of Livingston, as the eligible project sponsor, is requesting TA grant funds for the construction of an AASHTO-compliant shared-use path to connect our community and overcome a known safety concern on our busiest street. The goal of the proposed O-Street-to-Bennett Connector Project is to provide safe passage for bicyclists and pedestrians to critical facilities on Livingston’s east side. This project includes the following two phases: (1) widening the shoulder on what is now a particularly narrow section of US Highway 89 South/Park Street/I-90 exit 337, and (2) the addition of an ADA-compliant pedestrian crossing and sidewalk on the east side of one block of O Street, which will provide a pedestrian corridor to the less-traveled Callender street (see visual below and the Map of the Area of Interest on the next page). It is important to note here that during preliminary design and discussions with community members, a separated path was also considered; however, the geography of this area/steep embankment prohibits this approach (See ADA Section). Fortunately, the alternative shared-use side path has the support of our MDT District.
The proposed project’s 0.45 mile stretch of Highway 89 South will extend from O Street, on the far east side of Livingston, to connect to an existing shared-use path that starts just before Veteran’s Bridge, completed by MDT in in 2013. Presently, there are portions east of Veteran’s Bridge where the shoulder is less than 12 inches, with sharp drop-offs. The proposed shared-use path will improve safety and offer a vital connection to the new Livingston HealthCare facility, the multi-use path on Veteran’s Bridge, Meyer’s River View Trail, and other facilities. Through overcoming known safety issues, individuals will be able to safely walk or ride a bicycle to critical facilities. We aim to further improve safety by generating a pedestrian and bicycle corridor to and from this connection through the addition of pedestrian crossing on O Street, a sidewalk, and signage to help divert pedestrian and bike traffic off US Highway 89 upon reaching O Street.
The proposed O-Street-to-Bennett Connector Project is located within Livingston City Limits and three miles of our geographical center. The shared-use path itself will fall entirely within MDT’s 100-foot ROW, and as such, we have proactively and collaboratively communicated with MDT regarding this area of concern. Moreover, in 2015, we contracted Stahly Engineering to create a preliminary design plan, which cost the City over $5,000 but helped reassure the feasibility of this project, that the fill slopes are within MDT’s ROW, and budget accuracy. It is important to note that while it may appear in the design plans that the fill will exceed MDT’s ROW, there are encroachment issues that this project will also resolve. As discussed in MDT’s letter of support, “the proposed facility meets criteria outlined in recent MDT policies (HSSRA and Shared-Use Path), including serving a transportation purpose (as evidenced by existing usage and user survey), being within a city or town, and enhancing transportation safety. The project additionally presents the District with opportunities to resolve existing encroachments with the benefit of local agency support and to improve the facility’s side-slopes and, hence, overall maintainability.”
Overall, the proposed connection will improve safety and connectivity by providing a shared-use path and pedestrian corridor to connect Livingston businesses on the east end to Livingston HealthCare and potential future developments, as well as provide a connection to existing trail systems east of Veteran’s Bridge. Importantly, we have the means and equipment to successfully maintain this critical connector once constructed and will implement a signed Maintenance Agreement. TA Program funds will allow us to serve our community and connect this missing link, making Livingston a safer place to walk and bike as transportation alternatives.
Montana Transportation Alternatives Program