David Kack (left), Big Sky Transportation District coordinator, describes the partnership that helped bring in federal TIGER funds to benefit Highway 64—also known as Lone Mountain Trail—a dead-end highway straddling two counties. “It’s really the Main Street of the community,” he said.  Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce stands by. (In case you’re wondering, TIGER stands for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.)

The year of the TIGER

Big Sky celebrates sixth annual National Infrastructure Week

National Infrastructure Week doesn’t exactly sound like a time to get out and celebrate, but that’s just what Big Sky did on May 17. And for good cause—the community has much to look forward to in terms of infrastructure as part of the $10.3 million TIGER grant, which was awarded to the community earlier this spring.

     As Gallatin County Commissioner Steve White estimated, the community had a 6 percent chance of getting the federal funds. Big Sky’s 2017 grant application was competing with 450-plus other communities across the country. So, when Big Sky’s application was accepted, there was certainly reason to celebrate.

     That opportunity came last week when the community was invited to meet at Fire Pit Park in the Town Center where Webb Brown, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce addressed the crowd, highlighting other Montana communities that also have infrastructure projects on the books— from Missoula where the busiest two-lane bridge in the state will see upgrades, to Eureka where its water treatment plant will receive major updates. 

     The celebration continued with attendees loading a Skyline bus for a ride to the Meadow Village. During the short ride, Kack described the new buses and vans that will be purchased as part of the grant.

     Once off the bus, the group took a short stroll along Little Coyote Trail to its intersection with Lone Mountain Trail. Big Sky Community Organization Executive Director Ciara Wolfe described the pedestrian trail that will be installed along the roadway, a walking bridge that connects it to the Community Park, as well as an underground walkway beneath Lone Mountain Trail that will connect the new walking path to the existing one.

     Once completed, trails will allow pedestrians to walk from Ousel Falls Park through Town Center and all the way to Kircher and Community parks using a cohesive trail system. Wolfe said the pedestrian project construction won’t begin this summer, but hopes to get things underway as soon as possible.

     Some of the attendees took the opportunity to cross the busy intersection, walking back to the Town Center along the pathway adjacent to Lone Mountain Trail. Others got back on the bus, headed to a street party complete with live music and a bouncy house.

     Other needs the TIGER grant will address include the addition of turn lanes along Lone Mountain Trail, the installation of wildlife signage and viewing pullouts, and curve warning signage.

     To learn more about the TIGER grant, visit http://bigskychamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Gallatin-County-MT-64-TIGER-Grant-Application.pdf



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