Good news for those of you in Belgrade who often find themselves stuck at Jackrabbit Lane and Main Street because of a train. The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) announced on Monday that the Montana Transportation Commission has approved a change in scope for the Jackrabbit – Madison to Main project. According to a press release from MDT, this will allow an underpass on Jackrabbit Lane at the railroad crossing near Main Street.

The new underpass will allow vehicles to pass beneath the train tracks on Jackrabbit at Main Street in Belgrade, limiting congestion.

“MDT has heard so much great feedback from this region about pedestrian access, area development, and more vehicles than ever utilizing this major thoroughfare,” William Fogarty, Butte District Administrator for the Montana Department of Transportation, said. “Providing a separated crossing beneath the railroad tracks came up frequently during those conversations. We did not want to jump ahead of ourselves without understanding the risks associated with adding a railroad underpass and having full approval. Now that we have that, we couldn’t be more excited to see this happen.”

A consultant engineering firm will be selected to begin developing plans for the revised project in the coming months.

The original Jackrabbit – Madison to Main project called for the expansion of Jackrabbit Lane, turning it into a five-lane roadway from Madison Avenue to Main Street. This is actually still included in the plans along with a new rail underpass.

That's the good news. Unfortunately, MDT doesn't believe the project will actually begin until 2026. Initially, the project was to start around 2023, but with the addition of the railroad underpass, work is expected to be delayed due to the comprehensive design process and identify funding sources.

 The project's cost will be in the neighborhood of $25 million, with 80% to 90% of the money coming from federal funding.

“Incorporating community feedback involves balancing needs with funding,” Fogarty said. “We’re looking forward to more conversations with residents and project stakeholders as the project moves forward.”

To stay up to date on the Jackrabbit – Madison to Main Project, call the Montana Department of Transportation hotline at 406-207-4484 or contact Takami Clark at takami@bigskypublicrelations.com.