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Controversial North Fork Road construction depends on NEPA study, awaiting grant for study funds

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Posted at 2:44 PM, May 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-09 11:17:06-04

It's been a controversial topic lately — whether North Fork Road will be paved from the end of the current pavement to the Camas entrance of Glacier National Park.

Flathead County has applied to the Federal Lands Access Program for a grant that would provide funds for a NEPA study to investigate the impacts of a project done on the North Fork Road.

But paving is not the only option. This project could be anywhere on the scale from doing nothing to adding more gravel, milling chip seal and potential paving.

Approval of the grant will not happen until the fall and the NEPA study could take two years or more — meaning this project will not happen for quite a few years.

Those who have traveled the North Fork during summer months know the road gets very bumpy - all caused by the increase of vehicles traveling this state secondary highway.

“The traffic loading up there in the summertime is incredible. It is by far and away our busiest gravel road system, absolutely no question. We see counts that are in the 1200 to 1400 vehicles a day in July and August. September is still pretty heavy, May pretty heavy, but certainly those three summer months as far as when we see it, and everybody knows that because that's when our tourists are here. My department, our department cannot keep up with that road. It's too much, that much traffic on a gravel road, we just can't keep up,” said David Prunty, Flathead County Public Works Director.

The NEPA study will allow time for public comment, and until then there will be no official opportunities to comment on the subject.

Flathead County Public Works Department recommends sending letters to the Flathead County Commissioners to make a public comment on the issue ahead of the NEPA study.