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City eyes speed indicator signs

Speed indicator signs could be in the future on South Main/Old Yellowstone Trail in Three Forks.

The Three Forks City Council recently voted unanimously to send a letter to the Gallatin the Montana Department of Transportation Bozeman District Office to request the signs in both directions. The governing body also sent a letter to the Gallatin County Commission requesting they ask MDT to install "your speed" flashing radar and indicator signs. The signs would be on South Main/Old Yellowstone Trail in both directions, somewhere between Bench Road/Second Avenue West headed north, and somewhere between East and West Ivy Streets and Talc Road headed south to Willow Creek.

The letter states that while the section of highway is under the jurisdiction of the MDT, both city and county authorities overlap as the highway is in both city limits and Gallatin County.

"The City Council and Mayor have had several complaints by citizens within the city limits area (Grove, Hickory, and Ivy Streets) as well as by employees of the Magris Talc Plant regarding the high rate of speed both civilian and delivery truck traffic are traveling on this section of Old Yellowstone Trail. Known employers of these truck drivers have been contacted by our staff, as well we have alerted the Gallatin County Sheriff and Highway Patrol Offices, in an effort to have drivers warned or cited for exceeding speed limits," states the letter.

In an email to the governing body, resident Gina Bennett asked for the city's help in placing signs.

"Many mornings I see several cars, trucks, and semi-trucks driving much faster than 25mph...This part of town has a Public Library, Preschool, School Bus Stop and is also a well-traveled crossing for students walking from the west part of town," Bennett said.

Resident Timothy Browne has asked the Council for their assistance with radar signs.

"Unfortunately, this stretch of road is a notorious speeding zone with many private vehicles and semi-trucks zooming down this stretch of road at 40-50 mph, whizzing past kids on bikes, and mothers pushing their strollers," Browne said in a letter to the city.

According to the letter to the commission, in the city limits, the speed limit is 25 miles per hour, which increases immediately at the edge of city limits to 35 mph, to 45 miles per hour just before Bench Road, and 60 mph just before Chandelle Place.

The proposed new softball fields for the Three Forks Schools on Magris Talc land on Bench Road south of Old Yellowstone Trail were also addressed in the letter.

The letter states that adding up to five more fields will generate more vehicle traffic on Old Yellowstone Trail and foot traffic at the intersection of Bench Road and Old Yellowstone Trail towards Willow Creek.

The vote came after the governing body initially considered sending a letter to the Commission asking them to request the Montana Department of Transportation conducts a speed study on South Main Street to roughly Wenkuuni Lane, past the Magris Talc facility.

During its Oct. 11 meeting, the Three Forks City Council was approached via a letter by Magris Talc requesting assistance with a federal grant application that would improve the safety of the pedestrian crossing on the Montana Rail Links track near Bench Road and Old Yellowstone Trail.

The letter, signed by Magris Talc's Director Pat Downey and Talc Operations Controller Jan Lien, explained that the company plans to use the funds to improve the crossing in preparation for the construction of softball fields in the area - which will serve as the Three Forks High School's softball facility.

The Council decided at the Oct. 11 meeting to meet with entities from all parties involved.