The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Schellinger Construction will restart the Hudson Bay Divide South project this spring as weather permits.
Work items for this spring are as follows and should be completed by August:
- Polymer overlay on the bridge deck, which is used to protect the bridge deck surface.
- Paving the approaches and wide outs.
- Sign installation.
- Seeding operations.
- Place permanent erosion control by placing reinforcing mats in ditches.
- Install rumble strips.
- Chip seal, which protects the new road surface and minimizes water penetration.
- Final epoxy pavement marking, which includes roadway markings and striping.
The Hudson Bay Divide South Project is the fifth and final phase of the total reconstruction of US 89 between Browning and the Hudson Bay Divide. It starts about twenty miles north of Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation and continues northward for about five miles. This project will improve traffic flow, increase roadway safety, and reduce future maintenance costs. It consists of reconstructing travel lanes to adhere to the 36-foot wide standard, with 12-foot travel lanes and 6-foot shoulders.
MDT is also realigning the roadway to reduce the number and severity of curves within the project area and ensure that the alignment follows current standards; some vertical realignment will also occur. Crews will install centerline and shoulder rumble strips to address roadway departure crash trends. Ditches will be flattened, enhancing safety in case of future roadway departures.
MDT will replace three existing culverts north of the South Fork Milk River Bridge with concrete box culverts to deter beaver damming activities that currently cause roadway flooding. Crews will also replace the South Fork Milk River Bridge, which will improve water flow and animal crossings; MDT will also place a historical marker at approximately mile post 23 describing the history of US 89.
Sites of archeological and Tribal significance within the boundaries of this project will be mitigated and marked before construction to minimize impacts.
The project includes five scenic turnouts, which will have ‘Be Bear Aware’ signs installed. Wildlife-friendly fencing and snow fences will be placed where needed.
Project Timeline and Cost
The Hudson Bay Divide South project will cost about 14.3 million dollars. The project started in April of 2022 and will extend through the 2022 construction season.
Impacts on the Public
Motorists should expect single-lane traffic controlled by temporary signals and pilot cars, with flaggers as needed. Short delays may occur. MDT would like to remind the public to watch for the "cone zone" and workers on the highway when traveling during construction season. Road crews spend their days working a short distance from fast-moving vehicles. While they make every effort to work safely, they count on motorists to pay attention, slow down, and be careful as traffic passes through work zones.
Schellinger Construction was incorporated in 1961, providing work as a prime contractor and subcontractor for federal, state and county agencies, railroad and private companies and specializes in the construction of roads and highways across Montana.