Montana Department of Transportation

Malcolm “Mack” Long, Director

COVID-19

View the Governor’s Coronavirus Task Force site for more information.

Active Project - Highway 43 - Chief Joseph Pass to Wise River

Highway 43 - Chief Joseph Pass to Wise River project logo

Project Updates

September 17, 2021

  • Highway 43 between Chief Joseph Pass and Wisdom has reopened.
  • Motorists can expect single-lane traffic and reduced speeds while crews continue finishing up work on the highway and bridges in the area. Construction is expected to be completed this fall.
  • The closure was the second and final planned closure for the Trail Creek Bridges Project. The project involved replacing two Trail Creek Bridges and a pipe culvert at Canyon Creek near the May Creek Campground. The bridges were originally constructed in 1961. Other improvements in the bridge project included:
    • Removing the piers from the stream to allow more water to flow through and restore Trail Creek to a more natural flow.
    • Upgrading the bridge railings.
    • Resurfacing the roadway with new pavement on each end of the bridges.
    • Upgrading the approach railings on each end of the bridges.
    • Replacing the Canyon Creek culvert with a larger pipe to prevent overflowing.

Previous Updates

September 9, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 CLOSURE NEXT WEEK
  • The second of two complete, four-day closures of Highway 43 about 17 miles west of Wisdom will begin next week on Monday, September 13. The closure will last 24 hours a day, with the road expected to reopen on Friday morning (September 17).
  • The closure is necessary to allow crews to completely remove and replace a bridge over Trail Creek near the May Creek Campground. While the closure is taking place, motorists will need to choose an alternate route as there is no designated detour through the project area.
  • Other Highway 43 Project Updates:
  • East of Wise River - Guardrail Project (Wise River to Divide Fishing Access)
  • Guardrail installation is now complete. Crews are performing miscellaneous tasks in the work zone. Please use caution and watch for workers in the area.
  • Due to the nearby Christensen and Alder Creek Fires, the Divide Fishing Access Site is currently being used as a staging and campground area for fire agencies responding to the fires.
  • Please be aware of more traffic than normal through the East of Wise River - Guardrail Project work zone.
    There will be emergency equipment in the area regularly.
  • Wisdom North Project (Wisdom to the Big Hole River Bridge)
    Chip sealing is now complete. Remaining work this year includes adding final striping and pavement markings to the roadway.
  • Wise River - Northwest Project (Sportsman's Campground to Wise River)
    Workers have upgraded guardrail through the project area.
  • Remaining work to be completed in 2022 includes:
    • Chip sealing the pavement surface.
    • Adding final striping and pavement markings to the roadway.

August 26, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 REOPENED (8/26)
  • Crews have removed and replaced one of the bridges over Trail Creek on Highway 43 west of Wisdom. Highway 43 has reopened (8/26) near the May Creek Campground between Chief Joseph Pass and Wisdom.
  • The second planned closure for the Trail Creek Bridges Project is scheduled for the week of September 13-16. This closure will also last 24 hours a day, with the road expected to reopen on Friday morning (September 17).
  • The closures are necessary to allow crews to completely remove and replace the Trail Creek Bridges near the May Creek Campground. While the closures are taking place, motorists will need to choose an alternate route as there is no designated detour through the project area.

August 20, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 CLOSURE NEXT WEEK
  • The first of two complete, four-day closures of Highway 43 about 17 miles west of Wisdom will begin next week on Monday, August 23. The closure will last 24 hours a day, with the road expected to reopen on Friday morning (August 27).
  • The closures are necessary to allow crews to completely remove and replace the Trail Creek Bridges near the May Creek Campground. While the closures are taking place, motorists will need to choose an alternate route as there is no designated detour through the project area.
  • The second and final complete closure for the Trail Creek Bridges Project is scheduled for the week of September 13-16.
  • Other Highway 43 Project Updates:
  • Wisdom North Project (Wisdom to the Big Hole River Bridge)
    Crews are upgrading sections of guardrail and performing other miscellaneous tasks. Chip sealing is anticipated to begin soon.
  • What to expect:
    • Traffic is reduced to one lane.
    • Reduced speeds.
    • Pilot cars or flaggers will direct traffic.
    • 5-15 minute delays.
  • East of Wise River - Guardrail Project (East of Wise River to Divide Fishing Access)
    Workers have completed improvements on the bridges, and guardrail installation is continuing on schedule. The project is expected to be completed in the next 2-3 weeks (depending on nearby fire conditions).
  • What to expect:
    • Traffic is reduced to one lane.
    • Reduced speeds.
    • Signal lights and pilot cars will direct traffic.
    • 5-15 minute delays
  • Due to the nearby Christensen and Alder Creek Fires, the Divide Fishing Access Site is currently being used as a staging and campground area for fire agencies responding to the fires.
  • Please be aware of more traffic than normal through the East of Wise River - Guardrail Project work zone. There will be emergency equipment in the area regularly.

August 9, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 CLOSURES RESCHEDULED
  • Two complete closures of Highway 43 to replace bridges over Trail Creek have been rescheduled for August 23 – 26 and September 13 – 16. The closures will last 24 hours a day (Monday - Thursday). The road is expected to reopen on Friday morning during each closure.
  • The closures are necessary to allow crews to completely remove and replace each of the Trail Creek Bridges in only four days. While the closures are taking place, motorists will need to choose an alternate route as there is no designated detour through the project area.
  • MDT had initially planned the bridge closures in July, but the Trail Creek Fire that was started by lightning on July 8 caused a postponement in order to allow fire crews to respond.
  • The closures are dependent on forest fire activity in the area. For the very latest information on the closures, and other road conditions around Montana, visit: https://roadreport.mdt.mt.gov/travinfomobile/
  • Construction on the Highway 43 corridor between Chief Joseph Pass and Divide is ongoing and motorists should continue to allow additional time if commuting through the work zones.
  • Other Highway 43 Project Updates:
  • Wise River - Northwest Project (Sportsman's Campground to Wise River)
    Crews are completing paving on this portion of highway. Chip sealing is anticipated to begin soon.
  • What to expect:
    • Traffic is reduced to one lane.
    • Reduced speeds.
    • Pilot cars or flaggers will direct traffic.
    • 5-15 minute delays.
  • East of Wise River - Guardrail Project (East of Wise River to Divide Fishing Access)
    Workers have completed improvements on the bridges, and guardrail installation is continuing on schedule.
  • What to expect:
    • Traffic is reduced to one lane.
    • Reduced speeds.
    • Signal lights and pilot cars will direct traffic.
    • 5-15 minute delays
  • Please be aware of more traffic than normal through the East of Wise River - Guardrail Project work zone. There will be heavy bicycle, pedestrian and emergency equipment traffic in the coming weeks.
  • Due to the nearby Christensen and Alder Creek Fires, the Divide Fishing Access Site is currently being used as a staging and campground area for fire agencies responding to the fires. Additionally, a bicycle event will taking place on Wednesday, August 11 that will bring increased bicycle and foot traffic in the area.
  • Please slow down and use caution through the work zone.

July 23, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 CLOSURE POSTPONED DUE TO TRAIL CREEK FIRE
  • The Trail Creek Fire west of Wisdom has caused the planned closure the week of July 26-30 for the Trail Creek Bridges Project to be postponed until further notice. This postponement is necessary to ensure public safety and allow crews to respond to the fire.
  • Rescheduling the road closure and bridge work is dependent on the fire’s activity. MDT will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available and the timeline for future planned construction closures is further determined.
  • Construction on the Highway 43 corridor between Chief Joseph Pass and Divide is ongoing and motorists should continue to allow additional time if commuting through these work zones.
  • Questions and comments can be sent to Brandon@rbci.net or by phone at 406-284-1500. To sign up for text updates, text HWY43 to 1-866-434-0866 (toll-free).
  • For the very latest information on the status of the road closures, and other road conditions around Montana, visit: https://roadreport.mdt.mt.gov/travinfomobile/
  • Texting alerts are not managed by MDT and may have different privacy and security policies. For more information read the SimpleTexting Privacy Policy.

July 9, 2021

  • HIGHWAY 43 CLOSURE POSTPONED DUE TO FOREST FIRE
  • The road closure planned for Highway 43 approximately 17 miles west of Wisdom is being postponed due to new forest fire activity in the area. Rescheduling the road closure and bridge work is dependent on the fire’s activity. MDT will continue to provide updates as soon as information becomes available.

July 2, 2021

  • CONSTRUCTION PAUSED OVER HOLIDAY WEEKEND
  • Crews will not be working over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Construction will not take place between 3 p.m. on Friday, July 2 until the morning of Tuesday, July 6.
  • The Montana Department of Transportation wishes you a happy and safe Independence Day.
  • When construction resumes on the Highway 43 Projects the week of July 6:
    • Traffic will be reduced to one lane.
    • Traffic signals and/or pilot vehicles will direct traffic.
    • Expect 15 minute delays through each project zone.
    • Speed limits will be reduced.
    • Vehicles over 10-feet-wide are restricted between Trail Creek Road and Wisdom and must use an alternate route.
  • What's ahead?
    The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will close Highway 43 near the May Creek Campground approximately 17 miles west of Wisdom on July 12 -15 and July 26-29 to replace two bridges over Trail Creek.
  • The road will close on Monday morning at 6 a.m. and reopen on Friday morning at 6 a.m. during each scheduled closure.
  • The closures are necessary to allow crews to completely remove and replace each of the Trail Creek Bridges in only four days. While the closures are taking place, motorists will need to choose an alternate route as there is no detour through the project area.
  • For the very latest information on the closures, and other road conditions around Montana, visit: https://roadreport.mdt.mt.gov/travinfomobile/
  • Guardrail work between Wise River and Interstate 15 is expected to begin in mid-July.
  • The Montana Department of Transportation is improving Highway 43 between Wise River and Interstate 15 in Beaverhead County. The Wise River East Guardrail Project includes adding guardrail along a 7.5 mile stretch of Highway 43. The project begins about two miles east of Wise River (near Jerry Creek Road) and continues approximately 7.5 miles east, ending near Pump Station Road. The improvements will increase safety along this section of road.
  • Construction is anticipated to be completed in the fall 2021.
  • For the safety of the public and workers, MDT encourages motorists to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, slow down, and use caution through work zones.

June 4, 2021

  • Paving work between Wisdom and Chief Joseph Pass is beginning this week.
  • Paving will begin near Wisdom and work toward the west. Once paving reaches the west end of the project area, crews will turn around and beginning paving east toward Wisdom. Work will take place during daylight hours. Paving is expected to take about a month to complete.
  • While no nighttime construction will take place, resurfacing equipment will be parked in a line along Highway 43 at nights throughout the project. This line of equipment will be approximately 700' long and traffic signals will be placed on both ends of the machinery to direct traffic around at night. Parking equipment on the roadway will allow crews to work as efficiently as possible during daylight hours.
  • What's ahead?
    Resurfacing work on Highway 43 north of Wisdom is anticipated to begin in late June.
  • When traveling through each work zone:
    • Traffic will be reduced to one lane.
    • Traffic signals and/or pilot vehicles will direct traffic.
    • Expect 15 minute delays.
    • Speed limit will be reduced.
    • Vehicles over 10-feet-wide are restricted between Trail Creek Road and Wisdom and must use an alternate route.
  • For the safety of the public and workers, MDT encourages motorists to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, slow down, and use caution through work zones.

May 27, 2021

  • No work is planned over the Memorial Day Weekend. Crews will be off the road by 3 p.m. Friday (5/28) and return to work Tuesday morning (6/1).
  • What's next?
    Paving work between Wisdom and Chief Joseph Pass is anticipated to begin the week of June 2nd, depending on weather. The work is expected to take about a month to complete.

    Paving will begin in the westbound lane near Wisdom and work toward the west. Once paving reaches the west end of the project area, crews will turn around and beginning paving east toward Wisdom.
  • What's ahead?
    Resurfacing work on Highway 43 north of Wisdom is anticipated to begin in late June.
  • When traveling through each work zone:
    • Traffic will be reduced to one lane.
    • Traffic signals and/or pilot vehicles will direct traffic.
    • Expect 15 minute delays.
    • Speed limit will be reduced.
    • Vehicles over 10-feet-wide are restricted between Trail Creek Road and Wisdom and must use an alternate route.

May 14, 2021

  • Minor traffic pattern change week of 5/17 - No work planned for Memorial Day Weekend.
  • Crews are wrapping up work in the westbound lane over the Big Hole River Bridge just west of Wisdom. Work on the eastbound lane is expected to begin next week (5/17). Traffic will be reduced to one lane over the bridge.
  • What's next?
    Crews will not be working from Friday (5/28) at 3 p.m. to Tuesday (6/1) for the Memorial Day Weekend.
  • What's ahead
    Paving work between Wisdom and Chief Joseph Pass is anticipated to begin the end of May or early June. The work is expected to take about a month to complete. Paving will begin in the westbound lane near Wisdom and work toward the west. Once paving reaches the west end of the project area, crews will turn around and beginning paving east toward Wisdom.
  • When traveling through each work zone:
    • Traffic will be reduced to one lane.
    • Traffic signals and/or pilot vehicles will direct traffic.
    • Expect 15 minute delays.
    • Speed limit will be reduced.
    • Vehicles over 10-feet-wide are restricted between Trail Creek Road and Wisdom and must use an alternate route.

April 19, 2021

  • Construction begins on improvements to Highway 43 near Wisdom the week of April 19th.
  • Crews will start work on the Big Hole River Bridge just west of Wisdom. This bridge work is part of the Wisdom West Project which will also resurface the highway later this spring.
  • During construction:
    • Traffic will be reduced to one lane.
    • Traffic signals will direct traffic through the work zone.
    • Expect 15 minute delays.
    • Speed limit will be reduced.
    • Vehicles over 10-feet-wide are restricted between Trail Creek Road and Wisdom and must use an alternate route.