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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Glendive drivers will encounter road work on I-94, Highway 16 this summer

By Jason Stuart

Ranger-Review Staff Writer

Locals planning on driving to or from North Dakota this summer will have to have some patience as the Montana Department of Transportation has a couple of major highway projects in the queue for Interstate 94.

The largest MDT project in the Glendive area this summer is the “Glendive East” project on I-94, which will encompass both eastbound and westbound lanes. MDT District 4 Administrator Shane Mintz said the project will begin at mile marker 218 just east of the Merrill Avenue interchange and extend for 6 miles to the east of town. Mintz said the project will entail “quite a bit more than just resurfacing.”

The total cost of the project is $10.1 million, with the contract awarded to Knife River Construction, the same firm which built the new Towne Street/Highway 16 intersection last summer.

Mintz noted that MDT will be using an “innovative” new construction technique on the Glendive East project called “compaction grouting.” This technique will be used around where culverts cross under the interstate, which Mintz noted are the areas with “the worst issues” and the most potential to have degradation of the road surface.

Mintz said the innovative technique has two bonuses. One is that it creates a better, more compact subgrade with fewer air pockets around the culverts which is less susceptible to deterioration. Secondly, it will make the project a little less intrusive to travelers.

“One of the pluses is you’re able to limit impact to traffic a little more because you don’t have to tear up the whole road,” Mintz said.

Eastbound drivers on I-94 will encounter another interstate construction project as they draw closer to Wibaux. The “Wibaux East and West” project entails a resurfacing of just the eastbound lane of I-94 from the Hodges exit to just east of Wibaux. Mintz noted that project will begin later this summer, after the Glendive East project is already underway.

Both I-94 construction projects should be completed this year, Mintz noted, adding that while all the construction may slow traffic down a bit, it shouldn’t create too many inconveniences for drivers.

“We’ll coordinate traffic; people will be able to get through,” Mintz said.

MDT will be doing one other road project in the immediate Glendive area this summer. That is a small project on Montana 200S headed out of town which will entail upgrading the existing guardrails and widening the shoulders to create more space between the edge of the roadway and the rails.

Further out, travelers between Glendive and Sidney  will encounter a couple of MDT projects on Highway 16 this summer.

The smaller of the two projects is the construction of a left turn lane on Highway 16 at the small community of Crane between Savage and Sidney.

The larger of the two Highway 16 projects, and the one project in the area which will have the longest-term impact to travel, is the construction of a new roundabout at the intersection of Highway 16, Highway 200 and Highway 23 just south of Sidney.

Mintz said MDT will be building an on-site detour to move traffic around the construction, so impacts to drivers shouldn’t be too severe. However, the project will be around for a while, as Mintz noted it will not begin until later this summer and is unlikely to be completed before winter sets in.

“We anticipate it will likely be a two-year project,” he said.

Reach Jason Stuart at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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