Gore Hill interchange eyed for update, public meeting April 25

Plans to improve the Gore Hill interchange are getting underway and planners are seeking public involvement.

The Montana Department of Transportation is hosting an open house 4-7 p.m. April 25 at Crystal Inn Hotel and Suites in the Diamond meeting room.

The open house is being held so members of the public can speak with project staff directly to ask questions and learn about the planning and design process.

Love’s Travel Stop planning Great Falls location

The project is intended to improve traffic operation and safety for the interchange and Interstate 15 between the 10th Avenue South and Gore Hill interchanges, according to MDT.

The Gore Hill interchange project is complex and requires a lengthy project development process to examine options before construction begins, according to MDT, and public input is a part of the process.

The interchange has long been an area of concern for the Great Falls community due to issues with operations, geometrics, safety and access.

Area transportation plan getting minor update

“The airport, multiple truck stops, and other commercial and industrial areas attract high volumes of truck traffic which are not adequately accommodated with the current interchange. Additionally, the short distance from the 10th Avenue South Interchange results in congested merge/diverge conditions and conflicts with truck traffic. These issues are projected to compound in the future due to new development and increasing traffic volumes,” according to MDT.

Love’s Travel Stop is planning a new station at the Gore Hill interchange. That project has already been approved for a sign variance and will be working through the city’s annexation process.

In 2015, MDT developed the I-15 Gore Hill to Emerson Junction Corridor Planning Study in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and in coordination with the Great Falls Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The purpose of the study was to determine potential improvement options to address safety and operational concerns within the interstate system through Great Falls.

The report identified recommendations to address the transportation needs in the area through the planning horizon of 2035.

Among the recommended improvement options were the addition of a southbound auxiliary lane between the Gore Hill and 10th Avenue South Interchanges and intersection improvements at the Gore Hill Interchange.

The Great Falls Long Range Transportation Plan 2018 Update also included recommendations to make improvements to the Gore Hill Interchange as outlined in the Corridor Planning Study. Various public involvement strategies were used to engage key stakeholders and the public throughout these past planning efforts.