Regional Boards > Mountain West


<< < (3/10) > >>

Article about existing and desired safety improvements along US 93:

--- Quote ---Polson and Evaro, with all its animal underpasses, overpass and fencing with jump-outs, has been a godsend for the safety of the animals that must traverse the highway and for the motorists who travel 93 and can now worry less about the trauma of hitting an animal. The Salish-Kootenai Tribes, Jones & Jones Architects, Montana Department of Transportation and all the others who played a part in the design and construction of this very efficient road must be proud. It is one of the most animal-friendly highways in the world – except for the unfinished 9.2 miles between Ronan and Post Creek.

For about 15 years, this part of 93 has remained undone due to unanswered questions of how to complete the highway through this complex area – complex because of streams, Ninepipes Reservoir and politics. Difficult, I’m sure. But, in the meantime, the adage “Pray for me, I drive 93”  still applies. It’s a dangerous area. And not just for humans.

--- End quote ---


--- Quote from: Billy F 1988 on January 31, 2021, 02:30:56 PM ---
--- Quote from: Kniwt on January 27, 2021, 12:33:16 PM ---The Billings Gazette reports that a bridge built across the Yellowstone River in 1931 along old US 10 (paralleling I-90 between Reed Point and Columbus) has been closed due to fears of imminent collapse.

--- Quote ---Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks closed a 200-yard stretch of the Yellowstone River east of Reed Point Monday because an old highway bridge is in danger of collapsing into the water.

The Montana Department of Transportation informed FWP this week that the Twin Bridges Road bridge is close to failing.

About half of one of the bridge piers located in the main channel of the river has been scoured away, said Stephanie Brandenberger, a bridge engineer for MDT.

... The bridge was built in 1931. The concrete and rebar footings are original, so they've lasted for 90 years as the Yellowstone River battered them with debris and high water.

--- End quote ---

--- End quote ---

Yikes.  :-o :-o :-o I don't like the look of the eroded concrete showing the rebar. They better figure out how to at least rebolster the structure or get a new one in place soon. Good call by MDT to shut it down before any vehicle crossed it and fell into the freezing cold Yellowstone.

--- End quote ---

MDT just awarded a $2 million contract to demolish this bridge on Thursday. Per the contract specifications, the contractor must have the river spans (2 through 4) removed by May 15th, and the remainder of the bridge removed by end of summer timeframe.  They relocated the family that resided on the east side of the river, to eliminate the need to build a new bridge in its place.

The Missoulian reports on a plan to rebuild MT 200 through East Missoula:

--- Quote ---It is ambitious and not yet funded, but plans for a massive project to reshape Highway 200 from Van Buren Street to Tamarack Road are chugging along.

The project, called the East Missoula-Highway 200 Corridor Plan, was presented at a Public Works committee meeting Tuesday. It calls for a reconstructed railroad bridge near the I-90 interchange, as well as increased parking near the Sha-Ron River Access Point, a popular recreation area in the warm months of the year.

Trails, potentially two roundabouts and major changes to the main stretch through East Missoula around Randles Street and Clyde Street are also in the plan, which at this stage is mostly conceptual.

... The plan is still conceptual, meaning there has not been preliminary engineering or surveying done. In a city document outlining the probable costs for the preferred way the project would be done, the price tag would come out to around $31 million.

--- End quote ---

Montana Secondary Highway 269 is under construction and planned for additional improvements:

--- Quote ---Designed to save lives and prevent serious crashes, this project will enhance roadside safety along Highway 269 and the Eastside Highway The Stevensville Safety Improvements project will begin just north of the intersection of North Birch Creek Road and the Eastside Highway and will extend 5.9 miles north to the Pine Hollow Road intersection.

The proposed work plan currently includes widening the existing roadway by adding four-foot shoulders on both sides of the highway and flattening the roadside slopes with sections of guardrail being constructed along the route. Additionally, a new flashing signal will be placed at Bell Crossing,and Willoughby Lane will be realigned to better facilitate safe travel at the intersection. Utility upgrades and bridge replacements will occur throughout the project. Upon completion, the roadway will be sealed and have new pavement markings and signs.
--- End quote ---

An article related to the first phase of work outlines the need for this project:

--- Quote --- The Montana Department of transportation is starting the first phase of construction on one of the most dangerous stretches of highway in the state. 

The first phase of construction will start on the Eastside Highway, Highway 269, as part of the Stevensville Safety Improvement Project. Traffic will be down to one lane as crews will be out surveying underground utilities south of Bell Crossing at Willoughy Creek and Web Foot Ditch. ...

From 2003 to 2017, there were over 400 collisions, six fatalities and over 20 serious injuries. To improve this area, MDT plans to widen the existing roadway to include four foot shoulders, adding a new flashing signal at Bell Crossing, and realigning Willoughby Lane to better facilitate safe travel at the intersection.

Full roadway construction for Stevensville Safety Improvements project is slated to begin in the spring of 2021 with the possibility of intermittent lane closures occurring this fall. Construction will begin just north of the intersection of North Birch Creek Road and the Eastside Highway and will extend 5.9 miles north to the Pine Hollow Road intersection.
--- End quote ---

The roadway has recently seen its share of accidents including this fatal accident:

--- Quote --- A 17-year-old male from Stevensville is dead and a 20-year-old Great Falls woman is injured after a head-on collision near Corvallis on Friday (March 5, 2021).

The Montana Highway Patrol reports that at around 8:23 p.m., the 17-year-old was driving a Volkswagen southbound on Highway 269 and attempted to negotiate a right hand curve when he lost control. The vehicle went into the oncoming lane of traffic and hit a Dodge Ram pulling a horse trailer head on.
--- End quote ---


Ticketing system temporarily in place on Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park:

--- Quote ---  The National Park Service expects large crowds in all parks this year because people are looking for outdoor activities and excursions as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In a proactive move, officials at Glacier National Park announced the park will implement a vehicle entry reservation system for its popular Going-to-the-Sun Road to ease crowding and road congestion. Tickets will be required from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

“We just felt like the ticketed entry would get us a couple of things,”  park spokeswoman Gina Kerzman said, an 8KPAX article reports. “First, we would reduce the congestion in the park, and it would also prevent us from having backups on Highway 2. It also would allow our visitors to have a more quality visit and also allow us to protect resources since we expect a high number of visitors this summer.”

Glacier National Park, which the NPS calls the Crown of the Continent, is known for its rugged mountains, spectacular lakes, and more than 700 miles of trails. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, an almost 50-mile scenic road that makes its way through the park -- and even crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.

The flip side of the coin is that the park has a rapidly growing number of visitors. In 2019, for example, Glacier National Park was the tenth most-visited national park in the country -- with more than three million visitors, according to NPS.

Indeed, in 2019, approximately 2.6 million visitors visited the park between June and September. The park’s busiest month is July, and in July of 2019 alone, roughly 900,000 people visited the park. What’s more, even though visitation was down last year due to the pandemic, the park still saw significant crowds.

“We have the making of a perfect storm this season,”  Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said in a statement, the KPAX article reports. “Not only do we have ongoing COVID-19 mitigations and reduced staffing, we are also facing construction delays inside and around the park. The goal [of the ticket reservation system] is to maximize access while avoiding congestion that results in temporary closures of park entrance gates.”

In 2020, Glacier National Park had temporary closures 29 times in 25 days at the park’s West Entrance, which resulted in backups along Highway 2, an NBC Montana article reports. Implementing the ticketed entry system increases the certainty that visitors will be able to enter the park.

Here’s how the system will work: Visitors will need to purchase -- in advance and in addition to park entrance fees -- a vehicle entry reservation ticket to enter the 50-mile-long Going-To-The-Sun Road corridor at the West Glacier and St. Mary entrances from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The system will take effect Memorial Day weekend and continue through Labor Day weekend.

What the system will hopefully prevent is what NPS calls a “worst-case scenario”  -- in which “visitors may endure 40-minute construction delays on Highway 2 traveling to the park, arrive at the west entrance to find that entry is temporarily closed, and then have to endure another 40 minutes of construction delays to return to the Flathead Valley or head to the east side of the park on Highway 2.”
--- End quote ---



[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

[*] Previous page

Go to full version