Road work on Mendenhall causes inconvenience for drivers, businesses


BOZEMAN, Mont. - Road work and construction projects on the north side of downtown Bozeman are creating headaches for drivers and residents. The biggest project is milling and paving of Mendenhall between Wallace and 7th, a 10-block stretch. But it's not just Mendenhall that is forcing drivers to find a new route. Just to the north, drivers will find road closed signs at Black and Lamme and Willson and Lamme. Paul McConnell is a driver for Old Dominion Freight Line. On Wednesday, he made multiple deliveries on Mendenhall, but all the road work slowed him down. "I've probably done two extra miles just to get around everything to figure out how I could even get in here to make my deliveries," he said. McConnell cut through a business parking lot and then, "I had to cut through these barriers in order to be able to get in." It took him about half an hour to navigate, so he finished the rest of his deliveries on foot. Drivers have difficulty navigating the area, turning onto closed streets and having to turn around, some even ignoring the barricades all together. "I don't know why they had to close the entire street," McConnell said. "It's definitely a little more congested," said Bozeman resident Aspen Hougen, who drives on Mendenhall daily. "Part of me is like, 'Oh God, an extra 10 minutes in the car,' especially with [my son] Lucas around, but realistically a lot of this stuff that's getting done is stuff that's needed to be done for a super long time," she said. Engineers with the City of Bozeman say the stretch of Mendenhall was in bad shape, and the repaving needed to be done. They advise drivers not to ignore the road closures. If you're caught driving behind a barricade, you could be ticketed. City engineers said after the milling is complete, workers will move on to repaving the street. The project is expected to wrap up by the end of next week.