Curves South of Roscoe
Highway 78 is a treasured Montana highway, transporting residents and visitors through quaint towns and winding scenic stretches of rural farm and ranch land. Unfortunately, this twisting corridor has also seen a number of off-road crashes southeast of Roscoe near Butcher Creek Road. Some of the sharpest curves on Highway 78 exist in this area, which also borders creeks and hosts a number of wildlife crossings.
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is addressing this crash concern through the Curves South of Roscoe project. By straightening the curves in this area, the risk of running off the road will be reduced and roadway safety will be improved. Drivers will also be able to see further around curves and identify animals and vehicles further away, allowing for better driving decisions. Additionally, the shoulders of the road will be widened and will connect to the Highway 78 – Red Lodge to Luther projects.
This project is currently in the design stage, meaning that project engineers are researching the area and designing project plans for construction. Construction on this project could occur as early as 2024, but is contingent upon funding availability.
How is this project different from the other projects on Highway 78?
In some ways, the Curves South of Roscoe project is very similar to the Highway 78 – Red Lodge to Luther projects. For example, both projects recognize the challenges that the hilly terrain presents to drivers and are working to address crashes on the corridor. Both projects have the other in mind as changes are made, ensuring connection and consistency throughout this stretch of the highway.
That said, the projects differ greatly in length, timeline and funding. The Curves South of Roscoe project is expected to cost around $2 million and will cover 1.2 miles of highway, whereas the Highway 78 projects will cover more than 10 miles of roadway and is projected to cost around $17 million. Additionally, the Curves South of Roscoe project will be completed before construction on the Highway 78 projects begins.
The Curves South of Roscoe project is also funded differently from the Highway 78 projects, with money coming from the Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP), a federal program that provides funding to states for projects that directly work to improve safety. Projects that qualify for this funding must identify a location where higher severity crashes have occurred and provide a solution that reduces crashes. Additionally, project costs must not outweigh benefits, so costly improvements that do not significantly address crashes are unlikely to be approved for funding.
As a result, this funding is highly selective and restrictive. Improvements that do not directly address crashes often cannot be included. Residents might find that they can suggest an improvement on the Highway 78 project that can be included, but the same suggestion might not be possible on the Curves South of Roscoe project due to the requirements set forth by the HSIP.
Local feedback is key to ensuring the success of any project. MDT wants to ensure that all are well-aware of the changes this project will bring and have a chance to provide their thoughts and feedback. Residents may identify something staff has not yet considered or was unaware of.
Do you want to provide feedback, have questions, or stay up to date on project changes? Reach out to us below!
- Email: Contact Sloane to subscribe for updates, ask questions, or submit a comment
- Project Hotline: 406-207-4484, operating Monday – Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM