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Construction resumes this week on Ronan-North project

by Lake County Leader
| April 25, 2024 12:00 AM

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Riverside Contracting Inc. resumed work this week on the U.S. Highway 93 Ronan-North project.

Work began April 22 with limited milling and paving operations on U.S. 93 from the intersection with Round Butte Road north to the intersection with 3rd Ave. and Old U.S. 93. Crews were onsite from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. through Friday, April 26, dependent on weather and other unforeseen factors.

According to a press release from MDT, these additional milling and paving operations are required because the top layer of asphalt applied in one section of the project last fall failed to meet the department’s standards. The department tests materials used

on Montana’s roadways to ensure they are high quality, will withstand the harsh climate, and provide a smooth driving surface for decades to come.

“If a material fails to meet MDT’s standards, it is removed, and new material is installed. This occurred only in one section of the project,” said MDT Missoula District Administrator Bob Vosen.

“While we understand this causes more disruptions for the community, it is critical that we keep Montana moving forward by using only the very best materials that will last for years to come.”

Traffic will be reduced to one lane in each direction where work is underway. Drivers are encouraged to follow all traffic control signs, watch for workers and equipment and plan for additional travel time.

During the 2023 construction season, crews widened the highway to four lanes, improved drainage throughout the project area, and began work on the new shared-use path that connects Round Butte Road with the existing shared-use path along U.S. 93.

In addition, a short, 600-foot two-lane segment on First Ave., starting at Round Butte Road, was constructed in preparation for the construction of the second phase of the project, Ronan-Urban.

Other activities to be completed this construction season include paving the shared-use path along U.S. 93, painting the final epoxy road markings, and other finishing work. These activities will be off the highway and are not anticipated to impact traffic.

Streetlights and the new traffic signal at the U.S. 93 intersection with Old U.S. 93 and 3rd Ave. will also be installed. According to the press release, installation of the traffic signal has been delayed due to unforeseen supplier issues, but MDT plans to install the new signal as soon as possible.

The Round Butte Road Path will also be completed this summer, with construction tentatively slated to begin in June. This project includes building two new sections of paved walkway on the north side of Round Butte Road. One extends from the intersection of Round Butte Road and U.S. Highway 93 to the east side of Ronan Middle School, and the second portion travels from Third Ave. N.W. to the existing shared-use path that begins west of the railroad tracks on Round Butte Rd., and ends at Leighton Rd.

MDT reports that the second phase of highway construction, Ronan-Urban, remains down the road aways.

“Ronan-Urban is still in the design phase and is currently not included in MDT's five-year plan,” says Vosen. “However, this could change if plans and rights-of-way are finalized and funding becomes available.”

For more information, email sloane@bigskypublicrelations.com, call the hotline at 406-207-4484 during business hours, or visit www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/ronanurban/.