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MDOT Targets Hwy 287 For Safety Redevelopment


Nancy Marks, Reporter
MT43 News Editor

MDOT Targets Hwy 287 For Safety Redevelopment

Nancy Marks


State highway engineers are in the early stages of a five-year plan to redevelop U.S. Highway 287 from Silos Road south to Springville Lane. The project comes in the face of ever-growing traffic volumes and accidents, including fatal crashes. Also in the works is planning for the construction of left-turn lanes at Winston.

Geno Liva, administrator of the Butte Division of the Montana Department of Highways (MDOT), and Dave Gates, Butte Division preconstruction engineer, reported on highway matters at the Broadwater County Commission meeting on Nov. 8.

They also said:

 MDOT is not considering rerouting Highway 287 to the east to bypass Townsend.

 The new Headwaters highway rest area is about ready to open.

Gates emphasized that highway planning and construction take both a lot of time and money. He said if all goes well, the “Silos South” construction contract will be awarded in 2027 and the work done in 2028. Nothing has been done toward redeveloping the section from Springfield Lane to the Missouri River bridge, Gates said.

At the start of the meeting Commissioners Darrel Folkvord and Lindsey Richtmyer read aloud two public comment letters submitted to the commission about redeveloping Highway 287. One was from the trails committee of the Broadwater County Development Corporation (BCDC) and written by Al Christophersen. The other was from Al and Cindy Christophersen representing themselves. Both letters contained detailed recommendations for redeveloping the highway.

Among the proposals is the construction of a frontage road along the west side of the highway. Another one calls for attaching a cantilevered pedestrian walkway to the Missouri Bridge.

Liva reported that construction of the Headwaters rest area has been completed but is awaiting final inspection and finishing up of administrative details before opening. “We’re on hold right now,” he said. The new rest area is just north of the Wheatland interchange of Interstate 90 and Highway 287 near Three Forks. It will replace an outdated rest area at an I-90 interchange at Bozeman.

John Hahn, president of BCDC, asked about rumors that MDOT plans to reroute Highway 287 to the east, bypassing Townsend. Gates responded that there are no such plans. “We are not proposing anything of that magnitude,” he said.