Frontage Road Construction Update
The Montana Department of Transportation will begin stabilizing work on the slide near the Frenchtown Irrigation Ditch on Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.
As a result, traffic control will be in place with flaggers stationed at the waste location, near the Far West pit entrance. Additionally, lighted signals will be placed on either side of the slide area to direct safe traffic flow.
Contractors will be addressing the slide beginning at 8 a.m. throughout the week and will continue throughout the day until dark weather prohibits safe working conditions.
During these working hours, drivers can anticipate 5-10 minute delays.
Stabilization efforts will continue for 35-40 working days, five days per week. The Montana Department of Transportation expects this will take 8-10 weeks to complete, taking into account potential poor weather conditions.
Earlier this fall, project crews were alerted to a slope failure which was discovered in a newly cut section just east of the Frenchtown irrigation ditch on the north side of the Frontage Road. The slope failure has been at a relatively slow rate and is not affecting homes, nor has it impacted the traveling public.
As part of the Huson East project, an 11-mile stretch of the Frenchtown Frontage Road has been completely reconstructed. Improving sight distance is a major factor in improving driving conditions of the Frontage Road, which was last updated nearly 50 years ago. To do this, many hillside slopes running parallel to the Frontage Road are being cut back to allow for a straighter and flatter roadway; removing blind corners and increasing safety. It was a result of these efforts that the slide was identified.
It is important to note that these improvements undergo substantial geotechnical review prior to construction to ensure engineering plans are not only going to be successful, but that reconstruction benefits continue for generations to come. This work includes reviewing the land's topography, soil types, rocks, and drainage.
Beyond the eight to 10 weeks anticipated to stabilize this slope, residents may continue to see excavation work and haul trucks working near the Irrigation Ditch. While current winter weather conditions don’t prohibit this type of excavation work, cold and wet weather is not conducive to productive paving efforts. As a result, there are still outstanding sections to be paved in various areas across the 11-miles of the project. This includes private approaches and a few remaining miles of the shared-use path which will have to be paved in the spring of 2019.
During the winter, the traveling public may also periodically see fencing subcontractors who are placing fencing between Interstate 90 and the newly reconstructed Frenchtown Frontage Road. As these efforts are off of the roadway, no traffic control is needed. As such, fencing is not creating delays for drivers.
The overall Huson East project is anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2019. Work will begin once warmer weather conditions allow for the general contractor, Schellinger
Construction, to finalize paving of the shared-use path, some remaining private approaches, and will also include a chip seal, final striping, and plantings, seedings, and landscaping. All outreach efforts for the project to alert area residents of pending construction will resume in the spring, as schedules are set.
All are encouraged to reach out with any questions regarding the project. Further information may be requested by calling the project hotline (406)-207-4484 during regular business hours.
Big Sky Public Relations on behalf of the Montana Department of Transportation