Glacier Rail Park/Kalispell Core Area Development and Trail Project
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) selected the City of Kalispell, Montana, (City) to receive a Fiscal Year 2015 grant award under its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program. The USDOT’s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is administering the TIGER grant.
The Glacier Rail Park/Kalispell Core Area Development and Trail Project (Project) consists of the following two phases:
Phase I: Construction and operation of the new Glacier Rail Park (Rail Park), which will include 10,000 linear feet of new rail to serve industrial users in the Rail Park and provide a new rail turnaround adjacent to the Rail Park allowing for the removal of the original track in Kalispell; improvements to access roads on the north and east sides of the new Rail Park, traffic signal and road improvements for truck access to Montana Highway 2, and utilities to each lot in the Rail Park to provide access to City water and sewer, power, gas, and fiber optics. The new Rail Park will improve the efficiency of existing freight rail operations by relocating operations to a dedicated facility and eliminating the need for the rail line to bisect the community.
Phase II: A rail-to-trail component known as the Kalispell Trail, which will include the removal of nearly two miles of existing BNSF rail line from milepost 1225.19 to the west side of Meridian Street at milepost 1226.79, conversion of the existing rail bridge to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian use, and construction of a public use recreational trail in the abandoned railroad right-of-way, and the construction of up to three complete street connections in the Kalispell Core Area. Phase II construction will not begin until construction of the Rail Park has been completed and is operational, the existing rail line has been abandoned, and freight rail traffic has been moved off the rail line.
Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact
FRA and the City of Kalispell prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the Project on the human and natural environment. The EA was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 USC 4321 et seq.); the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508); and FRA’s Procedures for Considering Environmental Impacts (64 FR 28545, [May 26, 1999] and 78 FR 2713 [January 14, 2013]).
FRA and the City made the draft EA available for a 30-day public review and comment period from May 19, 2017, to June 17, 2017.
FRA issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on July 18, 2017.
- Environmental Assessment for the Glacier Rail Park/Kalispell Core Area Development and Trail Project
- Glacier Rail Park/Kalispell Core Area Development and Trail Project Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and Section 4(f) Determination
- Appendix A - 4(f) Correspondence
- Appendix C - EA Public Comments
- Appendix D - Executed Section 106 MOA
Supplemental Environmental Assessment
FRA and the City of Kalispell prepared a Supplemental Environmental Assessment (SEA) to address the City's proposed changes to Phase II, or the trail portion, of the Project. The SEA analyzed the potential environmental impacts of the following: additional options for the locations of up to three complete streets to provide connectivity in the Core Area; a potential realignment of a small segment of the Kalispell Trail (approximately 345 feet) between 4th Avenue WN and 5th Avenue WN; and a potential connection of the northeast trailhead (approximately 300 feet) to adjacent public right-of-way at the Flathead Drive/US Highway 2 intersection.
FRA and the City made the SEA available for a 30-day public review and comment period from October 21, 2019, to November 19, 2019.
FRA issued a FONSI for the SEA on August 14, 2020. The SEA, as well as information about the Project, is available on the City's Project webpage.