Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Three cows already hit on Beaver Creek Highway

Superintendent says reflectors may be a problem but urges drivers to use caution


September 11, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

A Dodge Ram passes by a cow on Montana Secondary Highway 234, Beaver Creek Highway, Monday. Beaver Creek Park Superintendant Chad Edgar told the Hill County Park Board Monday that three car-cow crashes had happened in the park by Friday, the fourth day cows were on the park.

With cattle on Beaver Creek Park less than a week, the park superintendent said Monday three vehicles have hit the animals already.

"We've actually had three traffic hits, Thursday and Friday, two really bad nights," Superintendent Chad Edgar told the Hill County Park Board during its monthly meeting Monday that a car hit a cow Thursday and two car-cow crashes happened Friday.

The park board leases grazing to local cattle producers from the day after Labor Day to the first of the year.

He said he thinks part of the problem is new reflective markers put up on some parts of the highway to mark the edge of the roadway. The reflections from the three-foot tall delineators are blinding at night, he said.

"I really have a hard time seeing anything on the side of the road with those things," he said, adding he almost hit a deer Labor Day weekend because it was standing in the glare of the delineators and he couldn't see it.

Hill County Commission Chair Mark Peterson said he has heard other complaints and that he would contact Montana Department of Transportation.

Edgar said two of the crashes occurred on the corners by Shambo and Taylor roads, the first at that location in 10 years. He added that the driver was driving 35 and barely bumped the cow, and it broke the animal's shoulder. The cow had to be euthanized, though the car received little damage.

"You could tell she was going slow," he said, and that the reflectors probably kept her from seeing the cow.

"Speed was definitely a factor in the other two," Edgar said.

To reduce the chances of crashes, signs are put up warning people that cattle can be on the highway and the speed limit is reduced to 35 mph at night. The daytime speed limit is 55 mph to the Taylor Road turnoff and 45 mph south from that intersection.

In other business, Edgar told the board that usage of the park slowed down in August but people made up for that Labor Day Weekend. This year was one of the busiest Labor Days in years, he said, although it went well, including with people following the fire bans.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

He told the board that he feels better about fire conditions now, with cooler nights, dewy mornings and rain in the forecast, and would not oppose lifting the fire ban.

He said he wanted to thank Kevin Woods of Builders FirstSource and Nate Molstad of Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited for work they did on the dock at Beaver Creek Reservoir to make it easier to use. The two also are going to put a protective covering around the dock to protect it when boats run into it.

The board also discussed a rancher asking to be able to keep his cattle off the park because of low quality of the forage in the area where they would graze, and the board agreed to revisit that request.


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