Maiden Road, Eddies Corner on tap for 2021 construction season

County, state to begin work on area roadways
By 
Katherine Sears
Reporter
Friday, March 26, 2021
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Fergus County Road and Bridge Supervisor John Anderson points out areas where work may occur this summer on a map inside the county shop.
Photo by Katherine Sears

Montana’s short window for road construction is quickly approaching and several area roads and bridges around the county will see improvements. There are a few big projects slated for this summer, while the county will also be conducting regular seasonal maintenance.
“Blading [gravel roads] will start when it stops freezing at night,” said Fergus County Road and Bridge Supervisor John Anderson.
Anderson estimates blading work will take the county crew into June.
“The middle of June we’ll have the first round of blading done,” said Anderson. “We’re lucky if we do 10 miles a day.”
That’s a big feat for the blading crew with hundreds of miles of road to complete out of each district’s shop.
“We try to go over it again in the fall,” said Anderson. “If it’s wet, we’ll hit the roads again. We’re just wasting our time if we try to blade dry roads, they just washboard.”
Some bigger graveling jobs this summer include roads near Grass Range and the PN Bridge Road near Winifred.
In addition to blading and graveling, Anderson said bridge repairs and replacements keep them busy all year long if the weather is good, which was the case this past winter.
 “It was an exceptional winter to do the bridge on Forest Grove Road,” said Anderson.
Anderson said the county crew will be able to complete work on about three bridges this summer, and possibly add a few more bridge projects throughout the season.
“We never run out of bridges to fix,” said Anderson.

Maiden Road
One of the major projects, and perhaps most anticipated, for county residents this summer will occur on Maiden Road, from Highway 191 to the town of Maiden. The $4.5 million project has been awarded to Century Companies of Lewistown after the state received only one high bid last year, putting the project on hold until this season. It is funded through the state and the Federal Lands Access Program.
The reconstruction has been in the making for several years, according to Anderson. While the road was originally built in the 1960s during the construction of the radar station at Judith Peak, it has seen minimal upgrades since.
Anderson said the county spent nearly a month patching the road last season.
“We neglected it because it was supposed to be paved last year and it kind of caught up to us,” said Anderson.
Throughout the years, there has been some confusion around whether it was the state or county’s responsibility to repave the road, prompting the Fergus County Community Council to create the Maiden Road Study Committee. In 2011, the committee produced a report requesting Montana Department of Transportation repave the road before turning it over to the county.
“When it’s done, the county will say it’s theirs,” said Anderson.
The project includes road reconstruction over the approximately nine miles of road to Maiden, as well as new culverts. Anderson said the road will remain the same size and motorists will experience some bypasses during that time.
Over the past two weeks, the county has been clearing the right of way surrounding the road, removing trees and pushing back banks to ready the site for construction.

Eddies Corner
The busy intersection at Eddie’s Corner will see major upgrades this summer as well, according to Kyle Dubbs of MDT in Lewistown.
“It will be a pretty drastic change to what is there now,” said Dubbs.
Reconstruction work will occur over approximately eight miles between Lamb Road and the east side of the Ross Fork Bridge, or four miles east of Moore to four miles west of Moore.  
Work includes changes to lighting, approaches and the intersection.
“Everything’s kind of getting a bigger footprint through there,” said Dubbs.
Dubbs said the project came about quickly this season and more information will be available in the coming weeks.
Work will begin April 12, when motorists will begin seeing the construction of detours. Throughout the project, motorists can also expect reduced speeds, pilot cars, flaggers, rough roadway surfaces and a width restriction of 16 feet.

Other projects
The state will be completing work on Main Street and the Truck Bypass in Lewistown between May and July. The roads will undergo a chip and seal when the weather is suitable, most likely in June.
“There will be work on and off to the end of July,” said Dubbs.
Additional work will occur on Lower Airport Road, with reconstruction of a portion of the road, and chip and seal on the remainder. The sidewalks will also undergo changes to meet ADA requirements.
Dubbs said a culvert repair will occur on Highway 191 north of the DY junction and the state will finish paving the bridge on Highway 81 this summer as well.
Weekly road reports will be available through Facebook and the MDT website once the work begins.
“It won’t be long and we’ll be starting construction,” Dubbs added.

 

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