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Stillwater County planning winter construction to fix flood-damaged road

Stillwater Mine Road
Posted at 9:49 AM, Oct 27, 2022

It's been nearly five months since the flood waters raged through southeastern Montana, and among the most significant damages was the destruction of the road leading directly to the Stillwater Mine.

The mine has been able to operate, but residents of the area are beginning to wonder when the road will be fixed. On Wednesday evening at the Nye Fire Hall, Stillwater County commissioners held a meeting with engineering consultants to explain how they're planning to rebuild the road.

According to Commissioner Tyrel Hamilton, the county has been given the go-ahead to begin the process.

"So we are good to get construction started on this as we have been with all other road projects in the county," Hamilton said to the crowd of about 30 Wednesday night.

Hamilton and the two other commissioners said that the goal is to make sure that the road has been rebuilt in time for highwater season next spring.

"From the county's perspective, I think we're fairly confident that that roadway is going to be restored for public access come next spring if everything goes right this winter," Hamilton said.

County officials said red tape from the federal government has extended the construction period, but the delay wasn't because of lack of effort.

"We've been trying to push really hard. We've met with Sen. (Steve) Daines. We're continuing to try and get a meeting with Army Corps because a lot of these permits, one will be reviewed and the next agency wouldn't review it until the first agency is done," Hamilton said.

Any work done on the river is prohibited by federal regulations to start until the end of Brown Trout spawning season, which wraps up on Nov. 15. Officials said that construction will take place during the winter months so that future damage to the area when the water speed picks back up will be avoided.