The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) announced the new Hardin – South Project focused on improving state secondary highway 313. According to the press release, the project is a roadway reconstruction to address seasonal loads and improve safety conditions for drivers.
The roadway has damaged alignment due to traffic and large seasonal truck loads. The damaged alignments cause a bumpier ride over the roadway. Crews working on the roads will make wider roadways, better-angled curves, and a smoother surface.
Located in Big Horn County, the Hardin-South project is a top reconstruction priority for the county. The project extends south of Hardin towards the Big Horn River and is approximately 5.6 miles long. Two structures are in mind for this project: replacing the structure over the Williams Coulee and conserving the structure over the Two Leggins Canal with new safety rails and approaches.
From 1995 to 2004, there were 25 crashes in the area, including five truck crashes. While these numbers seem relatively low, the percentage of crashes and injuries occurring during the day exceeded the state average in this area. 24% of crashes in the area were debilitating, compared to the state average of 11%. 64% of crashes in the area happened in daylight. The typical average of daytime crashes for the state is 52%
Public involvement is important to the project. Community members can be notified of opportunities for public involvement through the MDT website, social media channels, local media, or mailings as it progresses. Travelers in the area should be alert for work zone signages and crews, flaggers controlling traffic flow, work trucks entering, and periodic 15- minute delays near the highway.