The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is developing a project to enhance safety and address an identified crash trend by installing a southbound left turn at the intersection of US Highway 93 (US 93) and Eagle Pass Trail. The project is approximately one mile long, located just north of the Ninepipes Lodge, 5 miles south of Ronan.
US 93 is a National Highway System route that is important to the local, state, and nationwide transportation system. The highway is currently configured as a two-lane principal arterial, with one travel lane in each direction, shoulders of varying width, and a 70 mile-per-hour speed limit. The corridor experiences high traffic volumes and poor levels of service. Eagle Pass Trail is a local road intersecting US 93. A stop sign placed on Eagle Pass Trail controls traffic at the intersection.
The project location was identified in 2017 based on a cluster of crashes occurring at the intersection. From 2007 through 2016, 17 crashes were reported in the project area. MDT determined that 10 of these would have been addressable with installation of a left-turn lane. An additional 13 crashes have occurred within the project limits between 2017 and February 2020.
MDT has previously considered improvements to the US 93 corridor. Most recently, the US 93 Ninepipe Corridor Feasibility Study recommended reconstructing US 93 to provide widened shoulders, a shared-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, and multiple wildlife crossings. Public comments received during the feasibility study process indicated that turn lanes are desired at the Eagle Pass Trail intersection to enhance safety for roadway users.
Based on the need identified through crash history and safety performance, MDT will implement a project to improve safety at this intersection before full corridor reconstruction proceeds.