The Montana Department of Transportation plans on having a blast next week.
In an attempt to prevent rocks falling onto U. S. Highway 2, as happened last spring, MDT has awarded a contract to remove sections of Black Butte, the landmark west of Havre.
The 60-day project is scheduled to run from Monday, April 9, through the second week of June.
“We’ve had trouble with falling rocks, ” said Beth Doran, MDT’s manager for the project. “That rock up there is all very loose. It’s a hazard both for the travelling public and the roadway. We need to do something to stop that. ”
Doran said she had heard that people believe that the changes will be drastic, as much as removing the entire butte, but it’s just not true.
“They’re going to do a little blasting. We’re basically just going to put a shelf up on top where the rocks are falling, ” Doran said. “They just need to blast off the west side bowl on top and take some of that off. The east side of the hill where the rock is sticking out there, we’ll take that off. Just try to stop some of this rock fall. ”
During the two months this is going on, traffic on Highway 2 will be detoured south on Highway 87 and 82nd Avenue West, or Fort Assinniboine Road, except at night or during peak hours from 6:30 a. m. to 8:30 a. m. and from 3:30 p. m. to 6 p. m.
Doran said they will try to close as little of the road near the butte as possible, mostly just where the guardrail already protects.
“We’re going to try to keep it as open as possible, so those people in there will still have access, ” Doran said.