Railroad Grade-Separation Project

    The City of Livingston and Park County are collaborating to improve our existing transportation network and connectivity from the north and south sides of Livingston, which are equally divided by rail lines. Livingston was founded as a railroad town and is home to a large rail yard for the company Montana Rail Link (MRL). An average of 20 to 23 trains per day travel directly through Livingston daily to transport coal, propane, gasoline, etc. resulting from the increased energy production in North Dakota and eastern Montana. Notably, because of the increased grade of the Bozeman Pass, directly west of Livingston, trains must stop and acquire or decouple additional locomotives in order to negotiate the steep grade, thus dividing the local community while waiting for the train to pass.

     In addition to increases in rail transportation directly through Livingston,  increases in vehicle numbers on the State highway routes in Livingston (i.e., Hwy 10/I-90 Business Loop and Hwy 89) and adjoining network is a function of not only growth in the local population but also increased traffic along I-90, where Livingston joins visitors to Montana to the nation’s first national park, Yellowstone, the Yellowstone River, and Paradise Valley.  Comprised of 2,814 square miles of scenic valleys and dramatic mountain peaks, Park County contains Montana’s highest point, Granite Peak. It also hosts the original and only year-round access to Yellowstone National Park, which repeatedly ranks among the top-ten most-visited national parks in the nation, seeing a record number of visitors in 2015 of just under 4.1 million (National Park Service Data). Further, Livingston hosts a number of summer events that steadily bring visitors to our community (http://www.visitlivingston.org/festivals-events/)

     To ease the strains and challenges resulting in traffic congestion and railway travel, the City of Livingston and Park County funded and conducted a feasibility study (Appendix A) that began in 2007 and was completed in March 2008. This study evaluated a proposed grade-separated rail crossing (i.e., underpass) in Livingston. As a result from this study, and subsequent steps to make this a reality, the proposed Star Road Underpass project will entail construction of a new railroad underpass connecting Star Road/Front Street with Highway 10 / I-90 Business Loop on the City of Livingston’s west side. The overall objectives of this project are to enhance multimodal connectivity (e.g., trails system connectivity, pedestrian traffic, bicyclists, etc.), improve access to housing and emergency response times, increase public safety, and create jobs in a rural community. The proposed project is expected to better serve the growing northwest sector of the city and interlace access to city-wide facilities. Overall, the additional crossing would serve to accommodate anticipated traffic and provide an additional grade-separated route for emergency vehicles, thus improving safety, access to economic opportunities, and quality of life.

Purpose of the Project:

  • Construct a grade-separated crossing within the City of Livingston to improve public safety and emergency access to the nort side of the railroad corridor.
  • Provide greater connectivity for the City of Livingston, strengthening the economy and the community by improving business connection and growth.
  • Improving the multi-modal transporation system.
  • Alleviate congestion at existing crossings, providing safer travel.
  • Provide more convenient travel and welcoming esthetic for visitors traveling through Livingston to Yellowstone National Park.
  • Accomodate Livingston's growth in the last 20 years.

Project Location: Considering the proximity of Highway 10, the railroad, Fleshman Creek and the topography, an at-grade intersection of Star Road and Highway 10 was selected as the most viable concept.  The railroad parallels Highway 10 at this location and is approximately 150 feet to the north. The new crossing would involve the extension of Star Road south under the existing Montana Rail Link tracks to Highway 10. The profile of Highway 10 will be lowered to accommodate the under crossing.

Design Concepts:

  • Provide pedestrian and bicycle facilities.
  • Historic and neighborhood preservation.
  • Context sensitive design of historic irrigation ditch realignment.
  • Bridge Structure will be designed for 75 year life.
  • Context sensitive design of aquatic organism passage in streat relocation and structures.
  • Context sensitive design of adjacent farmland recontouring to approximate historic topography.
  • Improve and treat storm drainage.
  • Relocate water and sanitary sewer to accommodate improvements.
The City of Livingston has been prepared and proactive about the growth of their community. Plans to improve and increase access to the north side of Livingston have been in the growth policy since 2004. The need for another Railroad undercrossing have been apparent for years. The first steps of this project has already been completed,  now is the time to assist in securing the funds to construct this project and grow the City of Livingston’s infrastructure.

Completed Steps:

  • Feasibility Study
  • Final Design
  • Permitting
  • Right-of-Way Acquisition
  • Benefit Cost Analysis
  • Environmental Documentation
  • Categorical Exclusion finalized
  • Preliminary Design
  • Preliminary Right-of-Way

To secure funding, we have requested a construction award from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER), which is a federal transportation program. TIGER has transformed several communities, although funds are rather limited with respect to the number of requests, making this grant highly competitive. Still, we are confident that our objectives are well aligned with the mission of TIGER and are applying for TIGER VIII funds Spring 2016.

TIGER III Grant Application (2011)
TIGER IV Grant Application (2012)
TIGER V Grant Application (2013)
TIGER VI Grant Application (2014)
TIGER VIII Grant Application (2016 - submitted to the DOT)

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