By Martin J. Kidston
The Montana Department of Transportation recently released a list of road improvements planned for the Hill County-area, which are planned to take place over the next three construction seasons.
Project Analysis Engineer for the DOT Jeff Ebert said that five major projects will be completed as part of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program. The program, aimed at meeting the transportation needs of the public, will include the Box Elder-Havre project, a 20.9 mile resurfacing of US 87, and Beaver Creek south of Havre, where a bridge project will commence on Secondary 234.
Other projects will take place east of Chinook, between Box Elder and Loma, and between Chester and Joplin.
These are going to be pavement preservation projects where we just work on the main roadway, Ebert said, adding that delays motorists may face on the narrow, two lane highways would be minimal.
Delays will depend on the construction manager, but they should be fairly minimal, he said. You may have some one-lane closures for a few miles, but any delay should be a minimal delay.
Ebert said that crews would take the work in stretches to reduce traffic delays.
Included in the improvement program is a bridge in Beaver Creek Park. The proposed repaving and fencing in Beaver Creek is not part of the recent STIP. However, major repaving of the parks roadway is still in the planning phase.
Weve run into some opposition there, and were trying to iron out some of those issues, Ebert said. Because its a county-owned park, the largest in nation from what I understand, and because there are some environmental concerns, weve got some issues were tying to work out.
Among the environmental issues, Ebert said, the DOT will have to provide suitable mitigation to any wetlands that might be disturbed during road upgrades. Two new bridges will be built and are still in the design phase. Repairs will also be made to the parks existing bridges.