Reader boards along Highway 93 are saying Tuesday evening that the next round of construction along the highway have been delayed until Thursday.
Bitterroot commuters should brace themselves for the next round of a major project on Highway 93 next week, although the state is promising this work won’t be as disruptive as it was last fall.
Riverside Contracting will begin the last stretch of “micro-surfacing” of the highway between Lolo and Missoula Monday. It’s the second part of a project that caused major delays last September and was beset with problems after summer temperatures cooled off sooner than expected.
“The problem with micro surfacing, unlike asphalt paving, asphalt paving in the summer, and even in the late spring, early fall, you can do a lot of that work at night," said Montana Department of Tansportation District Administrator Ed Toavs. "Because you have a very hot mix and a lot of forgiveness in the design for temperature. Micro surfacing is very strict. I mean, if you start getting below 50 or 55 you‘re interfering with the design of the product.”
So this time around, MDT is having the work done during the hottest part of the summer. And Toavs says the state hopes much of the re-surfacing will be done at night to avoid interfering with the heaviest traffic, as long as temperatures allow.
Most of the work will be concentrated from Buckhouse Bridge north to Reserve Street, although there will be lane closures as other sections resurfaced last year will be finished off.
It takes longer to put down the “micro-surface” than it does to chip seal. But the results are better.
“The problem is what it creates for the drivers. If you have, like we have down there, twenty-to-twenty-five-thousand cars per-day at speed you’re going to get chips fly up," Toavs said. "And so you’re going to get the cracked windshields, the damaged vehicles. The idea with the micro surfacing is to avoid all of that. It’s a bit more expensive. But if we can avoid that then that’s a good thing.”
Lane change schedules:
Highway 93 Southbound from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Single Lane Closure), Highway 93 Northbound from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Single Lane Closure). Micro-surfacing operations at night will also be an option if temperatures permit.
Expect lengthy traffic delays and slow moving traffic in these areas. Please use the alternate routes if available, and obey all construction signs and flaggers.
If you have questions or concerns, you can call Riverside Contracting at 1-800-321-4964. They ask that callers leave a message and that they will make every attempt to address callers concerns within 24 hours.