CSKT Awarded $30 million to Update and Rehabilitate U.S. Highway 93

The Federal Highway Administration grant will be used to reconstruct parts of the highway and implement traffic safety improvements

By Denali Sagner
A sign near the sky bridge in Pablo on Sept 12, 2019. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will receive $30,567,037 to update and rehabilitate U.S. Highway 93 from Dublin Gulch Road to Gunlock Road, as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) National Significant Federal Lands and Tribal Projects (NSFLTP) program.

The NSFLTP program provides funding for the construction and rehabilitation of nationally significant projects within, adjacent to or accessing federal and tribal lands.

The funding will be used to construct a multi-span bridge and northbound passing lane over Post Creek; implement traffic safety improvements; develop wildlife collision reduction infrastructure; reconstruct pieces of the roadway and create a shared-use path.

“We appreciate the excitement our community has shown surrounding this project,” Rich Janssen, department head of natural resources at CSKT, said in a press release on Friday. “This portion of U.S. 93 is in great need, and we look forward to diving into the next phase in the coming months. One of our main goals with this project is protecting area wildlife and increasing resources to protect our homeland. This funding will help us work towards this effort.”

Janssen told the Beacon that population growth and increased tourism in the area have led to deterioration on the stretch of Highway 93.

“We live here, this is our homeland, and we realize that the population is increasing and more people are using this roadway,” he said.

The lack of passing and turn lanes, as well as the presence of wildlife, Janssen added, make it a difficult and sometimes hazardous stretch of roadway to drive.

“It makes it a very dangerous highway, and you have to drive very defensively,” he said.

While the grant will help to rehabilitate a section of the Highway 93, the project ultimately seeks to complete a total reconstruction of the highway through the Ninepipe and Post Creek sections, adding wildlife crossings, wider shoulders, intersection turn lanes, a northbound passing lane from Post Creek Road to the top of Post Creek Hill and a new separated multi-use path.

Janssen said the planning process can begin, now that CSKT has been awarded the grant, and that construction will likely start in 2026. The planning and construction process is being carried out in close partnership with the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT).

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