Lohman E/W Roadway Improvements
The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) will reconstruct 10.4 miles of US 2 between Havre and Chinook to improve roadway safety. This project begins just past the Hill/Blaine county line and ends at the city limits on the west side of Chinook. The existing railroad tracks generally run parallel and to the north of the highway. MDT will improve safety and operational efficiency by widening the roadway, adding flatter side slopes, adding passing and turning lanes, and replacing bridges.
MDT will widen this section of US 2, and shift parts of the roadway south to minimize impacts to the railroad during the widening process. This change in alignment will allow the roadway to be widened to meet MDT’s current standards: 12ft travel lanes and 8ft shoulders, for a total roadway width of 40ft. The shoulders are being widened to better accommodate mail delivery, cyclists, and parked or stopped vehicles.
MDT will install passing and turning lanes throughout the project, the locations of which have been determined with thorough consideration of wetlands, cultural resources, existing and future traffic, and safety concerns.
MDT will replace four bridges along this route: The Clear Creek Bridge, the Red Rock West Overflow Bridge, the Red Rock Creek Bridge, and the Red Rock East Overflow Bridge. These four bridges are currently timber and will be replaced with concrete bridges and new guardrail. The two remaining Davey Coulee and Clear Creek Overflow bridges will be removed and replaced with culverts. The existing concrete Milk River Bridge will not be replaced.
The project will also include flattening slopes, new guardrail and guardrail upgrades, and rumble strips to improve the overall safety of the project.
Project Timeline and Cost
Work on this project began November 18th, 2019, with Schellinger Construction Co. moving topsoil and adding fill to the side of the highway to prepare the road for widening. Work will start again in the spring of 2020 and continue through the 2021 construction season. The construction cost is $28,897,658.91.
MDT gathered considerable public comment and input before and during the Environmental Impact Statement process. Due to the number of items that need to be carefully considered between the design of a project and construction, construction may come many years after design. Four other ongoing design projects are collecting public input along this stretch of US 2. This project is solely in the construction phase; no further design changes will occur.
Impacts on the Public
During construction, the traveling public should expect one-lane traffic with flaggers and signals during regular work hours and two-lanes open during nights and weekends. Drivers should expect multiple work zones with short delays between 10-15 minutes Monday through Saturday. The work zones will have a reduced speed limit of 35 mph. There will also be several detours built to accommodate the reconstruction of bridges. These detours will include the rerouting of traffic onto paved sections north of the existing bridges.
MDT will work closely with the traveling public to ensure that wide loads, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, mail delivery, business accesses, and school bus routes are accommodated throughout construction.
MDT will also reconstruct the shared-use path east of Chinook on the south side of the highway, and construction will include the installation of signs designating this path.