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Blue Slide project delayed


November 29, 2018

Residents on Blue Slide Road between Thompson Falls and Trout Creek may have noticed activity near where a culvert failed earlier this year, but consultant Brandon Coates said the project to replace the culvert has not yet begun.

Coates, with RBCI, said that the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is still working on the design for the culvert replacement, but that contractors were on-site this week to clear debris from the culvert and the stream above the culvert. Coates said the work would take about three days, with completion this week.

MDT had originally slated the culvert replacement for this fall, but now anticipates the project to begin next spring. Coates said the road is still stable for traffic.

The project to clear the culvert included some traffic delays, and Coates said the clearing needed to be done before the construction project can begin.

In May, a culvert became clogged at Cougar Creek and the stream washed out part of Blue Slide Road, closing the road for several days. Work in the spring stabilized the road and made it safe for travel. The next phase of the project is to replace the culvert.

While no start date has been announced by MDT for the culvert replacement project, Coates said the debris in and around the culvert needed to be cleared because of the impending winter weather.

“MDT does regular maintenance on culverts to keep them clean,” Coates said. “But since the culvert project is taking a bit longer, they are going to go in and clean it out before any potential spring runoff.”

Another MDT project continues just east of Thompson Falls. The 2.7-mile project to widen Highway 200 is in its first stages, which includes clearing trees and rocks from near the highway. Along with widening the highway and shoulder, a wildlife underpass will also be constructed.

Coates said one-lane traffic continues east of Thompson Falls from Thompson River Road, and delays of about 15 minutes are expected. LHC of Kalispell, which was awarded the contracted for the first phase of the Highway 200 project, is also prepping a detour area for traffic around the wildlife bridge area.

More information about the local projects are available online at


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