A portion of highway running through the town of Culbertson could receive a face-lift under a Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) plan to upgrade a key segment of US-2.

MDT is in the early stages of design for a project to rehabilitate approximately 1.3 miles of highway through town with the goal of improving safety, pedestrian accessibility and roadway conditions along the route. Improvements would begin at Diamond Creek crossing west of town and extend east to meet ongoing road construction east of town.

Members of the public are encouraged to review the proposed changes to the roadway at a walk-in open house Thursday, Sept. 26, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Culbertson Town Hall (210 Broadway Ave. Culbertson, Montana 59218). MDT and project staff will be on hand to discuss the plans and answer questions.

“Our goal is to develop a highway design addressing the need to rehabilitate the road surface and improve drainage, while considering many of the longstanding concerns in the community,” said consulting project manager Tom Cavanaugh. “The intent is for the project to remain within the current public right-of-way.”

In addition to rehabilitating the road surface, the project would install curb, gutter, storm drainage and sidewalk throughout the more urban sections of the project. According to Cavanaugh the upgrades are aimed at both improving drainage along the highway and addressing safety concerns.

“Adding curb and gutter to the area will create clearly defined points of entry and exit reducing confusion for roadway users and improving safety overall,” said Cavanaugh.

Other potential safety improvements include an enhanced LED flashing beacon at the school crosswalk and the elimination of some on-street parking to improve sight distance near intersections and fit in center turn lanes. A center left turn lane will be installed between the intersections of MT 16 South and MT 16 North to remove turning vehicles from the flow of traffic. New public parking near the school fields and a dedicated pedestrian path connecting the Culbertson Museum to existing walkways is also under consideration.

Many of the upgrades were identified in the 2012 Culbertson Corridor Planning Study which looked at transportation needs and cost-effective improvements in a 4-mile radius around the town of Culbertson.

The bulk of the improvements will receive federal funding through the National Highway System with the federal government paying up to 87 percent of the costs and State of Montana providing up to a 13 percent match through gas tax revenue. MDT plans to have the project ready for construction by 2021, pending available funding and the completion of design.

Anyone not able to attend the public meeting is invited to comment through MDT’s online comment form or by emailing jasmith@mt.gov. Please indicate comments are for the US 2-Culbertson project, UPN 8534000.

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