As Belgrade grows, so do its traffic woes. In October, the state Transportation Committee authorized the preliminary design of a railroad underpass project to ease congestion and backups on Jackrabbit Lane and Main Street.

The Montana Department of Transportation design project is part of a revised scope of work for the Belgrade Urban Project, originally proposed to widen Jackrabbit Lane between Madison and Main from three to five lanes. But in response to overwhelming public sentiment about the need to address the root cause of the traffic bottlenecks along that stretch of Jackrabbit, MDT proposed the new scope of work, which includes the addition of a railroad underpass north of Main Street.

MDT officials say it will be years before ground is broken on the project. The Transportation Committee could vote as early as next October to add the project to MDT’s five-year plan, and if so, construction could begin in 2026.

The Transportation Committee also voted in October to lower speed limits on West Main between Belgrade and Manhattan and on Jackrabbit Lane between Belgrade and Four Corners. The changes went into effect last month.