Highway 206 Construction Paused for Winter

Road crews will resume improvements to the corridor next spring

By Denali Sagner
Roadwork along Montana Hwy 206 on Nov. 22, 2022. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and Riverside Contracting have paused construction on MT Highway 206 between Kalispell and Columbia Falls. The construction project, which will add safety improvements to address roadway departure crash concerns, will begin again in the spring and is expected to be completed in 2023. 

This year, road crews widened the highway by adding 4-foot shoulders to both sides, reconstructed sidewalks at the intersection of Highway 206 and U.S. Highway 2, flattened steep slopes on the sides of the road and added mailbox turnouts. When construction resumes in the spring, crews will pave the shoulders and approaches, resurface the roadway, upgrade guardrails, apply a seal and cover (chip seal), install centerline and shoulder rumble strips and paint final pavement markings. 

“There is still a lot of work to be done to finish the project,” Drew Fetters, MDT Missoula District engineering project manager, said in a press release on Nov. 21. “The contractor plans to begin work as soon as the weather permits next spring.”

While crews were able to meet major benchmarks in widening the shoulders and flattening the slopes on the sides of the road, the construction season was shortened because Riverside Contracting was tasked with helping to repair damage from the Yellowstone River flooding earlier this spring, Fetters said. 

Roadway departure crashes have been a major concern along Highway 206, which connects the area east of Kalispell with Columbia Falls. Between 2007 and 2013, the Montana Highway Patrol reported 171 crashes along the corridor, 78 of which were roadway departure crashes. Between 2014 and 2017, the highway saw 116 roadway departure crashes. 

Up to date information on the project can be found at www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/secondary206. To sign up for construction updates, text HWY206 to 22828 for email updates or text HWY206 to 866-434-0866 (toll-free) for text message updates. 

Questions and comments can be submitted to [email protected] or by phone at 406-369-6205.

Current construction information, width restrictions and road conditions throughout Montana can be found at www.511mt.net