The Kalispell Bypass is the most expensive single project ever constructed by the Montana Department of Transportation. But a new analysis shows it’s also been the catalyst for more than a billion dollars in local investment, creating more than 700 jobs.
The numbers are contained in a newly-completed, independent report authored by Montana Department of Transportation’s Missoula District Administrator Ed Toavs.
The report took the $135 million construction cost for the Bypass and compared that with residential and retail development, and the creation of jobs between 2001 and 2016. That’s when the final stretch of the 93 alternate route around Kalispell was completed.
The analysis estimated 65 percent of new construction, and a third of new businesses were tied to the Bypass. It shows the highway helped create an average of 760 jobs per year, with a $26 million payroll and nearly $5 million-a-year in tax revenue.
And the momentum isn’t stopping.
“The development continues. Whereas, right now, we’ve completed construction up to this point," Toavs said. "And then at some point in the future, we’ll finish the south half. But the development on the north part continues.”
Kalispell leaders say the report also shows that development isn’t just limited to the north side of the city. They believe the Bypass construction is infusing the community with new energy that’s also benefiting the redevelopment of downtown.
Dennis Bragg will take a closer look at the report’s findings during the Wednesday 10:00 News.