Road construction project status update, Oct 18th

As some of you may have noticed, the traffic notice sign at the Polebridge turn-off was updated late yesterday afternoon to show that construction activity will now extend into November rather than finishing up by late October.

This morning, October18, we received a progress report on the road construction work in the North Fork from Chris Rossmiller, a Senior Technical Specialist with the Federal Highway Administration’s Kalispell Regional Project Office. The entire report is below, with some minor editing and reformatting, but here’s the short version:

North end of North Fork Road — The contractor will work into the fall “as the weather allows.”They are 1.5-2 months behind schedule. The road surface refinishing will not be completed until next year. They will, however, ensure the road is usable prior to winter shutdown. This includes “shaping the road to drain, ensuring culverts are functional, ditches are cut to drain, erosion control measures installed, and hazards marked for plowing.”

Glacier Drive — Next week, the contractor plans to start using recycled asphalt millings to build up the stretch of Glacier Drive from the Merc property to Glacier Park. Weather permitting, they will complete the road work, but seeding work along the shoulders will be delayed until next spring.

Here’s the entire report:

FHWA recently had a meeting with the contractor. They have now acknowledged the contract work will not be completed in 2023. The indication from the contractor is they are 1.5 – 2 months behind schedule based on the known progress and remaining work. The additional crews and additional work days to help accelerate the project did not transpire immediately as indicated by the contractor and communicated with everyone.

The contractor still plans to work through the Fall as the weather allows. FHWA already communicated all the required work items to complete prior to winter shutdown which includes, but not limited to shaping the road to drain, ensuring culverts are functional, ditches are cut to drain, erosion control measures installed, and hazards marked for plowing.

I know this is not the outcome anyone wanted but something we will need to manage going into next season. The contractor is planning to be completed with the Blankenship/Belton roads by the end of this week and will jump up to Glacier Drive. The intent for the remainder of the year is to build Glacier Drive up with millings and complete the road work, weather permitting, but all the topsoil/turf establishment work will not occur this season.

On the North Fork, culverts will continue to be installed until winter shutdown but none of the unclassified borrow or surface aggregate is planned to be placed this season. Again, not the outcome we wanted.

We will update, as we can, on what next season will bring to complete the project.

For more details, see:
Road construction timing and restrictions revealed at Interlocal