Montana Department of Transportation

Malcolm “Mack” Long, Director

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US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Planning Study

US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Planning Study

US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Planning Study

In spring of 2020, the KLJ team completed drilling to bedrock within and near US 2 in Bad Rock Canyon, 15 miles west of Glacier National Park. Our field team included CRUX drilling and Shannon & Wilson, Inc. Geotechnical Engineers who spent nearly three weeks in the environmentally-sensitive and highly-traveled corridor that meanders between the Flathead River and Columbia Mountain. As part of an improvements study for the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to improve road capacity and safety, the drilling completes our field investigations.

To permit the drilling, KLJ completed a Biological Assessment for both bull trout and grizzly bears. Drilling in the riverbed was challenged by changing currents and river levels due to spring run-off. Roadway drilling was equally challenging due to consistently high-travel volumes on US 2. The road has not been improved in decades and this study now moves into the public engagement and alternatives process. View the photos

Study Focus

US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Image
US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor
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What’s the plan for US 2 through Bad Rock Canyon?

For years, the Montana Department of Transportation has considered how to improve safety and function on US 2 as it narrows entering the Canyon community and serves as the most popular west-side access into Glacier National Park.

A safer road is the goal for both peak season travelers and daily users. Some big improvements have been made moving us closer to the finish line: providing three and four lanes for traffic and business accesses, a new South Fork River bridge over the Flathead River that ferries traffic into Hungry Horse, and roadside safety improvements have been performed to the east of Bad Rock Canyon.

Safety is a priority not just for motorists, but for pedestrians and cyclists in the area as well.

But the section of US 2 from the House of Mystery to the newly-replaced South Fork River bridge still needs work. The narrow canyon is host to many cultural, historical, environmental and scenic resources, which limits the area where the road can be expanded.

Add in a river to the north, and soaring rock cliffs to the south, the real estate for road expansion becomes even more restricted.

The Montana Department of Transportation continues to study what amount of construction can feasibly take place through Bad Rock Canyon.

The study will also explore how long construction take, how to build it while maintaining traffic and, roughly, how much will it cost.

Where is Bad Rock Canyon?

Bad Rock Canyon is located east of Columbia Falls, before US 2 enters Hungry Horse. The area being studied for construction feasibility is about 1.7 miles long.

As the main access road entering Glacier National Park from the west side, US 2 carries about 12,000 – 15,000 cars per day during peak season. With visitor numbers to the Park steadily rising, view park statistics, traffic volumes through Bad Rock Canyon rise as well.

US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Planning Study Area Map
US 2 - Badrock Canyon Corridor Planning Study Area Map
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