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Hwy 200 project begins


November 15, 2018

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) began a project east of Thompson Falls this week to make safety improvements along Highway 200. The project is slated to be completed in two parts. The first phase, which began this week, includes stump and shrub removal along the highway, along with rock removal (also called scaling) using an excavator.

The project covers 2.7 miles of Highway 200 from the Thompson River bridge going east toward Plains.

According to MDT, this section of Highway 200 has a higher than average crash rate, with wildlife such as bighorn sheep, along with rocks in the roadway, causing crashes. In addition, the highway was built in the 1930s with 11-foot-wide lanes and 1-foot-wide shoulders.

Brandon Coates with consulting firm RBCI said that the work this fall will take 4-6 weeks. During the first phase of construction this fall, short-term closures may be necessary, but Coates said one lane is anticipated to remain open at all times. Coates said most delays will be 5-10 minutes

The second phase of the project, planned to begin in spring 2019, will include widening the travel lanes to 12 feet, adding 4-foot-wide shoulders and guardrails along the roadway.

From there, MDT will determine if additional rock removal techniques will be needed in the spring.

MDT will also extend wildlife fencing and install Wildlife Deterrent Mats along the road. Additionally, a wildlife crossing underpass bridge and pipe culvert will be installed.

More information on the project is available at The public can also get construction updates by texting TRIVER to 22828, or email


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