A: The Peoples Way is a 56.3-mile section of US 93 between Evaro and Polson, Montana. All but one mile traverses the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation.
It’s called The Peoples Way because of the many groups and peoples who have come together and are making this project possible.
A: Construction along The Peoples Way US 93 project began with the reconstruction of the Jocko River Bridge near Arlee and the segment from Minesinger Road. to MT35 in Polson. The groundbreaking was October 14, 2004.
A: The entire project should be completed by the fall of 2009, with the exception of the Ninepipes section, which is currently under a supplemental environmental review.
A: There were three prime safety issues: congestion, intersection-related crashes and single car accidents.
Turning lanes are being added throughout the 56.3-mile segment to separate turning vehicles from those proceeding straight ahead. Passing lanes will also reduce congestion. Line-of-sight issues are addressed in the construction as well. The over 40 wildlife crossings incorporated into the construction will not only reduce wildlife mortality, but collisions and animal/ vehicle collisions will be mitigated.
A: The majority of changes aim to improve safety. Wider shoulders, passing lanes, turning lanes, controlling access, wildlife crossings to reduce animal-vehicle collisions, improved sight-distance and one-way couplets in Arlee and Ronan will accomplish this goal.
A: The project was a long time in the planning process because of the extremely context sensitive nature of the area, and the fact that the involved parties initially saw vastly different needs, priorities, and preferences.
"Pray for me, I drive the 93" bumper stickers date back more than 20 years. In the mid-1980s MDT proposed a 4-lane road to address the need. However, this approach was rejected by CSKT because of concern that design was more than needed to achieve necessary safety improvements, and that it ignored cultural and environmental concerns in the area.
For many years, the project languished as involved parties were stalemated over design approaches and level of commitment to culture and landscape. However, as safety issues remained a public concern, MDT and then-Tribal chairman Mickey Pablo agreed to re-engage in discussions in the late 1990s beginning with a blank page.
In 2000, all three governments involved – MDT, CSKT and the Federal Highway Administration - agreed to abandon prior plans in favor of the current design that would focus on safety improvement with an abiding concern for culture, the environment and wildlife.
A: The safety and road capacity improvements are a collective vision of the (MDT), (FHWA) and (CSKT) and represent an unprecedented union of interests that respect people, culture, and landscape while providing needed transportation improvements.
The guiding philosophy for these modifications is to protect cultural, aesthetic, recreational, and natural resources located along the highway corridor and to communicate the respect and value that is commonly held for these resources pursuant to traditional ways of CSKT.
A: Safety will be vastly improved. Safety analysis forecasts that the construction will result in the reduction of 70 fatalities, 520 non-fatal injury accidents and 650 property-damage accidents over the next 20 years. Economic efficiency will be better due to increased traffic handling efficiencies of the road. Wildlife crossings will also reduce collisions.
At the same time, the intergovernmental collaborative process has reshaped how road projects throughout the state, and even the nation, will be developed.
A: CSKT has been an equal partner in the design of this project. All but one mile of The Peoples Way traverses the Flathead Indian Reservation. The involvement of CSKT in the US 93 transportation improvement project has ensured that in addition to more safety, the project makes an unprecedented commitment to the culture, landscape, and wildlife.
A: The project will be 100 percent federally funded. Montana will use an innovative financing strategy called GARVEE Bonds to more quickly complete the project.
A: Yes. MDT, CSKT and FHWA have all committed enormous resources to making sure that traffic information is readily available to the public and business owners in the area. Information will be available through a variety of sources, including frequent e-mail updates. Please sign up on this site for updates on construction link.
Two-way traffic will be open through the corridor throughout this project. Motorists should look for blue signage indicating detour access to businesses in construction zones.
A: Safety is a concern with all construction projects. MDT will use all the standard methods and techniques used throughout the state.
A: Road construction projects always impact the traveling public. These projects were designed to minimize the impact as much as possible, but because the new road will occupy much of the existing roadway footprint, construction delays are inevitable. The contractor and MDT Project personnel will continually work to reduce the delays as much as possible. Additionally, contract incentives are in place with the individual construction contractors for speedy and efficient completion.
A: Up to $150 million for the entire 56.3-mile segment, including the Ninepipe section.
A: Fish, grizzly bear, black bear, deer, elk, moose, pronghorn antelope, painted turtles and many others.
A: MDT has followed its standard procedures that award the contract to the lowest qualified bidder.
A: Too Many! MDT data records from Jan. 1, 1996 to Dec. 31, 2005, that 2,198 car accidents occurred, 79 resulted in fatalities and 1,676 resulted in minor to severe injuries.
The reconstruction of this section of US 93 should increase many important safety features on this roadway. Increased sight distances, wider shoulders, frequent passing zones, controlled access and a quality riding surface should all contribute to providing a safer facility for the traveling public.
A: Four lanes between Polson and Ronan. Alternating two and three lanes from Red Horn Road to Evaro. t. The configuration for the Ninepipe – Ronan section has not yet been decided.
A: 65 MPH in most sections, with speeds as low as 35 MPH in cities.
A: Yes. The impact on homeowners has been minimized as much as possible. However, some homes have either been bought in entirety through the right of way process or relocated to accommodate the project.
A: Frequent e-mail updates will be issued as the need arises. Sign-up on this site for updates.
A: This project has taken longer that originally expected. As in any highway construction project complications and delays are sometimes inevitable.