Roadwork season returns in Montana

Posted at 5:56 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 19:56:59-04

HELENA — Summer isn’t just Montana’s busy tourist season, it’s also the state’s busy roadwork season. While it might seem inconvenient, there is a reason roadwork happens when there are also the most cars on the roads.

“The work we do needs to be accomplished in the summertime, warmer temperatures—basically, not frozen ground,” Montana Department of Transportation Great Falls District Construction Engineer Rich Hibl explained.

There is a lot of planning behind the scenes that happen before each project breaks ground—in some cases, more than five years of planning, Hibl said.

“There really is a lot of determining where the needs are, how do we address what we’re seeing out there in the field,” Hibl said. “Just a lot of thought and planning goes into these projects.”

Some of the biggest projects happening in the Helena area this summer are along Highway 12 between Spokane Creek Road and Diehl Ranch Drive and on Lincoln Road between North Montana and Interstate 15. With such a small window of time to complete projects, Hibl said MDT chooses what to when based on need.

“If we see a real safety concern, those projects rise to the top,” Hibl said.

Hibl said MDT does understand people need to get through the construction too.

“Our biggest priority is getting people through safely and as efficiently as we can,” Hibl said. “We try and build as much of that into the way we do work as we can.”

If you know there will be roadwork on your route, budget a little extra time in your drive to make it through safely.