By Crystal Thompson
Six Havre-area projects totalling $21.3 million are included in a draft statewide transportation improvement plan recently released by the Montana Department of Transportation.
The projects planned for this area include:
A nine-mile reconstruction project about 25 miles north of Havre on Secondary Highway 233;
A 36.8-mile resurfacing project between Box Elder and Loma on U.S. Highway 87;
A an 11-mile reconstruction project about 8.5 miles south of Havre and a bridge replacement project 10.6 miles south of Havre, both in Beaver Creek Park on Secondary Highway 234;
A seven-mile resurfacing project 10.5 miles west of Big Sandy on Secondary Highway 432 and a 9.3-mile recycle and resurface project on U.S. Highway 2 at the east Hill County line.
Department of Transportation engineer Jeff Ebert said the recycling project will reuse the asphalt taken from the top layer of the road for repaving once the old material has been modified with essential oils and aggregate.
The projects are scheduled to begin in the 2001-2003 construction seasons, said Ebert. Most of the projects are funded with 87 percent federal and 13 percent state funds.
The draft plan identifies how state and federal funds will be used to meet transportation needs for highways, aeronautics, railroads, and public transportation throughout Montana.
"Congress is already preparing to reauthorize the next transportation bill when it comes due in 2003. Montana has greatly expanded its transportation program as a result of the last increase in the federal transportation bill," Ebert said.
The Transportation Department is seeking public comment on transportation improvements planned statewide. Ebert said public comment is important to help guide the department with future decisions for transportation improvements.
"We must also show Congress that our needs, in a rural state as large as Montana, must be addressed with another increase in funding," he said.
For a copy of the draft plan or to comment, call 1-800-714-7296 or for TDD 1-800-335-7592. Write to: Montana Department of Transportation, Transportation Improvement Program, PO Box 201001, Helena, MT 59620-1001.
Copies of the draft STIP are also available in your local public library or on the MDT's Internet web site at www.mdt.state.mt.us.