BOZEMAN – If you have driven down Cottonwood Road west of downtown Bozeman — you may have had a bumpy ride.
The city has received an influx of calls about that road, particularly between Babcock and Durston.
The reason: potholes, some dangerously large.
“Cottonwood, we realize, is a pretty beat-up road,” says Shawn Kohtz, Bozeman City Engineer.
It’s that bump that you are almost never expecting.
Right now, Cottonwood is full of them.
“It hurts my teeth,” says Catherine Holmes. “And you cringe, too. You’re like…ouch.”
Catherine Holmes is one of many who brave the road regularly.
“You’re just like, slow down, but you still hit them,” Holmes says. “I’m like I’m sorry, car, and you just cry a bit on the inside.”
“We realize there is a problem out there on Cottonwood,” Kohtz says.
Kohtz has fielded calls about it.
He says there’s good news but it’s on the horizon.
“We have plans to upgrade Cottonwood this summer and so we are trying to balance right now how much effort do we put into maintenance, how much money can we pour into the road before we do the upgrade,” Kohtz says.
While plans to fix Cottonwood are actually in the works, people living in the area say they still definitely feel the bumps.
The majority of the potholes linger between Babcock and Durston.
“We take over a lot of county roads as we expand our city, so it originally was a county road,” Kohtz says. “As we’ve annexed out there, we’ve of course seen more traffic on the road and then traffic impacts the road and it creates more potholes.”
Kohtz adds the nearly $5 million plan will transform Cottonwood, updating it to accommodate the increasing traffic.
“We’re also going to widen the street so it’s going to be the same section that you have south of Babcock,” Kohtz says. “We’re planning to bid the construction project within the next three weeks, roughly, and then as soon as we can get through the contracting process with a contractor, we’ll have an exact start date.”
Many are driving by slowly to go around the potholes or swerving around them completely to avoid car damage.
Others say the potholes simply make them nervous.
“I just got a vehicle done from the mechanics so I know all about that,” Holmes says.
Kohtz says the project should start in about a month and a half following the bidding process.
At least, Kohtz adds, the bumps’ days are numbered.
“It’ll be a nice connection,” Kohtz says. “It’ll be great when we get it completed.”
The city engineer says construction will continue through the summer and into the fall once it begins.
He also adds you can keep track of construction in the city online with the Bozeman Streets Report.
Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News