Montana Department of Transportation

Frequently Asked Questions

Jump to questions about:

Traveling in Montana

Who do I call for road and weather conditions?
Call 511 or 1-800-226-7623
How often are road reports updated?
Our winter traveler information page and 511 system are updated every 30 minutes or as major changes occur. The information shown on the maps and reports is based upon the last known condition of the roads. Travelers should be alert to changing conditions. Load limits and construction information is updated weekly.
What do the various reported conditions mean?
Reported conditions are described here.
Where can I find road and weather conditions for states surrounding Montana?
Links for surrounding states are provided on our travinfo page.
Why are some rest areas closed during the winter?
The rest areas we close in winter were designed and constructed as summer facilities. As such, it is not cost-effective to operate them in the winter. We have winterized more rest areas to allow us to keep them open year around. MDT is also planning to construct additional facilities.
How can I request a Montana state highway map?
Please use MDT's Comment/Request Form to order highway maps.
Where can I find information about Montana bike routes and trails ?
You will find information about Montana routes and trails on our tours, trails and cycling routes page. You may also like our Bicycling the Big Sky Map.
What documents and identification do I need to travel in and out of the U.S.?
That information is available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
Where can I get tourist information?
Information for tourists is available at Visitmt.com
Where will I find information about the projects MDT is working on today?
We publish information about current projects on our Active Projects page.
Where do I find information about Montana's scenic byways?
Information about this program is available on our Scenic-Historic Byways page.

Mega Loads

What if an emergency vehicle needs to get around a mega load?
Carriers have to submit a transportation plan to MDT as part of the permit process. In most cases, procedures for emergency vehicles are included as part of the transportation plan. Local law enforcement is notified of any load travelling through their jurisdictions. In some cases, a load may be traveling with a law enforcement escort.
Will the mega load traveling interrupt traffic and adversely impact communities?
The administrative rules of Montana require that loads over 18 feet wide, 17 feet high, or 150 feet long not delay traffic in excess of 10 minutes. In developing a transportation plan for the movement of mega loads, carriers examine the route and develop a system to clear traffic using pilot cars and existing turnouts that will comply with the 10 minute rule. MDT has the authority to revoke permits and issue fines if the carrier does not comply with the ten minute maximum traffic delay rule set forth in § 18.8.1101, ARM. MDT also implements time and date restrictions on the travel time to avoid conflicts with weekend, holiday and commuter traffic.
Will MDT conduct an environmental impact study or deny a permit if a load will potentially impact Montana’s natural resources and environment?
MDT has a responsibility to uphold the law as passed by the legislature and cannot deny a permit if the application satisfies the law. Provided that the existing transportation facility will accommodate the loads without infrastructure improvements, such as engaging in any ground disturbing activity the load does not require environmental review or denial of an permit application - see, § 61-10-121, MCA.
Will the highways be able to carry the weight of the loads?
Prior to granting a permit for a mega load, MDT analyzes the potential impact to bridges along the route by listing each bridge location and “design live load capacity” for each structure based upon the proposed load configuration. Based upon in service design, structure condition, bridge span and other load allowances for the structures, MDT determines those bridges with most limited capacity for the proposed configuration and identifies those structures as “controlling bridges.” MDT then analyzes the proposed configuration for those controlling bridges, and applies appropriate load and travel restrictions. If the bridge live load capacity is less than the overload, the permit is not approved.

Vehicles & Drivers

When are chains required on tractor-trailers?
Tire chains may be required at any time, anywhere in the state of Montana. They are required on the mountain passes when the chain up sign is posted.
Where do I find driver's license and vehicle registration information?
You will find this information on the driver's license and vehicle registration page.
What are the speed limits in Montana? How do I get the speed limit changed?
Speed limits in Montana and information about gettting speed limits changed is available on our Speed Limits page.
What limits are placed on loads and speeds in Montana?
This information is covered in our Load and Speed Limit Policy.
When do studded tires need to be removed from personal vehicles?
Studded tires are are permitted in Montana from October 1 - May 31. Additional information is available on our Tire Equipment and Towing Options page.
What towing restrictions apply in Montana?
Please read Tire Equipment and Towing Options.
Do you have any tips for safer driving?
Yes, you will find a wealth of this kind of information on our VisionZeroMT pages and on Plan2Live.
Where do I find information for Montana motor carriers (regulations, permits, etc.)?
MDT's Motor Carrier Services site is a convenient one-stop location for permits, regulations and other information of interest to Montana's commercial motor carriers.
Why are MDT cameras only installed in certain locations?
The department's primary reason for the cameras at various locations throughout the state is to aid our winter maintenance crews. These cameras are generally located in areas that are far removed from highway maintenance facilities. This saves our crews a great deal of time and expense by allowing them to observe road conditions at these remote locations without actually requiring them to drive there. Although this is the primary intended use of these cameras, we have also placed these images on the web for the benefit of the traveling public. We aim to add more cameras to mountain passes and other areas that experience extreme weather conditions as funding and resources become available.
I get a Netcharts license error when I try to view RWIS history
This is typically caused by a java caching error. Try clearing your web browser's cache. If that does not work, clear your java cache:
  1. Start > Settings > Control Panel > Java > Under Temporary Internet Files, click Settings, click Delete
  2. Close and try again.

Open Container

What is an open alcoholic beverage container?
A bottle, can, jar, or other receptacle that contains any amount of an alcoholic beverage that is open or has a broken seal or the contents of which are partially removed or are immediately capable of being consumed.
What is the major purpose of the law?
The law prohibits unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage container by a person in a motor vehicle on a highway. Montana had the highest rate of alcohol related fatalities per vehicle mile traveled in the nation in 2002 and 2003 as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The open container law helps provide the message that it is not okay to drink and drive in Montana.
Who gets the ticket?
The person in possession of the open container.
A friend of mine said that there was an exception to this law if the open container was in the locked glove compartment. Is this true?
Yes, an open container can be stored in a locked glove compartment.
Does this law allow a person to have an open alcoholic beverage container on a bus or taxi?
Yes, as long as the operator is a hired driver and has met the legal requirements of other public laws such as licensing requirements and local open container ordinances.
What about motor homes? Are open containers allowed?
Yes, in the living quarters of a camper, travel trailer, or motor home, the law allows a person to have an open alcoholic container.
What about open alcoholic beverage containers at a tailgate party?
This is permissible as long as it is not on a public highway and meets all other legal requirements such as local open container ordinances.
Does this new law have a fine for violating it as well?
Yes, a person convicted of the offense of unlawful possession of an open alcoholic beverage container in a motor vehicle shall be fined an amount not to exceed $100.

Working for and with MDT

How do I apply for a job at MDT?
Current openings, the application, and instructions are available on MDT's jobs website.
Where can I find contractor information?
Information for contractors is available on our Contracting & Consulting pages.
How do I get on the State's preferred vendor list?
Vendor registration and instructions are available at vendor.mt.gov
How do I apply for DBE certification?
The application and instructions are on our forms page under the DBE Forms subheading.

Maintenance and Construction Projects

Where can I learn more about what MDT does to the roads in winter?
Information about our winter maintenance activities is available on the De-icing, Plowing & Sanding page.
What de-icing material does MDT use on the roads?
A description of the de-icer is on our De-icing, Plowing & Sanding page.
Does Montana use the metric system or English units of measure?
Montana currently uses English units of measure.
What terms are used to describe MDT's maintenance and construction activities?
For definitions, please see our Frequently Used Terms page.
How do I comment on a project that's under construction?
Contact the project manager listed for the specific project. Use the Ask MDT online form to submit a comment.
Sometimes I see work zone signs on the highway and no one is working. Did the department forget to pick them up?
Work zone signs will remain in place while construction is in progress. Even if no one is working, it is still a work zone; all regulations remain in place until work is complete on the project.

General MDT

How do I file a claim for damages?
To report a loss, contact the State's Risk Management and Tort Division at 406-444-2593.
How do I find out when MDT is selling its surplus vehicles?
Information about surplus property and auctions is available on the State's Surplus Property Public Auction pages

General

How do I get a question answered about a specific project for the current bid letting?
You may ask a question regarding a specific project for the current bid letting by using our Question & Answer Forum.
Do you have to be pre-qualified to bid on a job in Montana?
Prequalification is required only for some specialty types of work at this time. No other prequalification is required. Montana law requires all contractors to register with the Department of Labor & Industry. Register before executing a contract on Federal Aid projects. Register before submitting a bid on State-funded projects. Contact the Department of Labor & Industry at 406-444-7734 for more information.
How does my company get added to your Contractor List?
Your company is automatically added to the list when you order plans, specifications or detailed drawings from MDT. If you view these items online, call Contract Plans at 406-444-6216 and ask us to add you to the Contractor List.
What is my Contractor ID number?
A 4-digit contractor ID number (vendor number) is assigned to your company by Contract Plans. It is the number you need to use to submit a bid as a Prime Contractor. This number identifies you in our database and is assigned when you order plans. If you do not know what your number is, you may get it by contacting Contract Plans.
How do I find out what projects are being advertised for the current month?
Projects advertised for the current month are listed in our Invitations for Bid.
Why do I get the old month's advertisement sometimes when I try to view the Invitation For Bids?
From time to time, an old month's advertisement will appear when you try to view the Invitation. To pull in the new information with the old invitation on your screen, refresh your view. The new information should appear. This should bring in the new advertisement for you.
How do I find out if a project has an addendum?
The first addendum on a project will be posted on Wednesday, the week before the bid letting date. A link to Addendum is available on the Contracting & Bidding webpage. We will also be posting complete addendum information including plan sheets, special provisions and quantities that have changed on our Bid Packages. Choose the Letting Month folder, the project name and then the addendum folder.
If a project has a second addendum, it will be posted on Monday the week of the bid letting.
How do I find out if there are preliminary plans on a project?
A link to Preliminary Plans is provided on the Contracting & Bidding webpage. Preliminary Plans are generally published one month prior to advertising. If you would like a set of preliminary plans, call our office at 406-444-6216 or fax our Bid Package Order Form to 406-444-7236. Please put the project number and the word, "Prelim" on your fax cover sheet. All prelims are $10.00.
Can I submit a hard copy bid bond instead of using the electronic bond verification process when I am supplying an electronic bid through Bid Express?
When submitting bids to the Montana Department of Transportation using online bidding through Bid Express, it is acceptable to use a hard copy Bid Bond. However, the Department accepts no responsibility for non-receipt or late receipt of the bond due to its delivery. The Department is also not responsible for erroneous misdirection of the hard copy Bid Bond upon receipt. The Department will do what it can to avoid misplaced Bid Bonds, but the use of a hard copy Bid Bond for an online bid is at the contractor’s sole risk.
I have a non-project related questions that is not answered here, how can I get it answered?
For non-project specific questions you may contact us online or via phone at 406-444-6211.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)

What are the prime contractors responsibilities, regarding the DBE Program and the payments they make to their subcontractors?
All payments made to any subcontractor on an MDT Federally funded project must be reported to the MDT DBE Program Manager. The information included should be, project number and designation, Prime's name, subs name, date of payment, amount of payment, and the line items being paid. These must be submitted monthly.
If a DBE has been used on the Schedule of Participation, what are the steps that must be taken in order for the prime to make changes to their contract?
A request must be submitted in writing to the EPM, who will then submit it to the DBE Program Manager. All reasons for the change and the firm the prime plans to use in their place must be included in the request. For more information, please visit our DBE Program page.
Who can receive DBE Supportive Services assistance?
Companies classified as highway-related that are certified in the Montana Department of Transportation Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. All businesses and individuals can attend any workshops sponsored by DBE Supportive Services. For more information, visit MDT's DBE program page.
What business services does DBE Supportive Services provide?
DBE Supportive Services provides direct assistance to DBE companies with guidance on industry-specific issues, development of business skills, funding for business development expenses, and information and resources to assist businesses. Sponsors industry-specific and business training workshops. Publishes a monthly DBE newsletter to inform businesses of opportunities, business-related articles, and MDT rules and procedures.
What is the MCA DBE Liaison Committee?
This is a Montana Contractors' Association Committee that partners with MDT to improve relations between prime contractors and subcontractors; provide valuable input to the MDT DBE Program; build a successful DBE program; and discuss issues in a conducive environment to find solutions.
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EEO & Labor Compliance

Who should I contact regarding questions about ADA accessibility on federal-aid highway construction projects?
Please view our ADA program description. If you are unable to find the information you need feel free to contact 406-444-9229.
Who should I contact regarding questions about EEO compliance or Labor issues?
Please view our EEO/Labor program description. If you are unable to find the information you need feel free to contact 406-444-6331.
What is the best way to file an EEO or Labor Complaint?
Notify the project superintendent verbally and in writing about your concerns. There are complaint procedures, contact information and forms on the project bulletin board. If your complaint is about the behaviors of your superintendent notify your firm's EEO Officer. If you cannot access the information on the bulletin board notify and state inspector on the project or call 406-444-6331.
How can I get EEO and/or Labor training?
There is an annual EEO Officer Assembly and individualized training opportunities provided. Interest parties need only contact the Civil Rights Bureau. There are also yearly Labor training and individualized training opportunities. If you are interested in either contact the Civil Rights Bureau at 406-444-6331.
What if I don't like what someone is saying of how he/she is behaving?
Tell them politely but firmly you don't care for their talk and/or actions. Document the situation and your actions with date, time and witnesses. If the behaviors reoccur report the problem to your supervisor and/or EEO Officer.
What if I don't agree with the hours I'm getting on the job?
Keep your own record by date of the number of hours you work in each classification. Do not sign your time card if you disagree with the hours or sign it with the word "objection" under your name. If the situation is not corrected, contact your firms' payroll person and/or contact the Civil Rights Bureau at 406-444-6331.
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Title VI

Who should I contact regarding questions about Title VI?
Please view our Title VI program description. If you are unable to find the information you need feel free to contact 406-444-6331.
What do I do if I think someone is treating me differently?
If you have believe you have been treated differently based on a protected status, document what has occurred (Who, what, where, when, why, how). Remember to document specifics of any situation. You may submit a written complaint with specific allegations to the concerned agency, local or state, or to the Civil Rights Bureau in Helena 406-444-6331. A complaint must be filed not later than 180 days after the date of knowledge of the alleged discrimination. Complaint Form
How do I get Title VI training?
Title VI training is available by contacting 406-444-6331.
If a non-English speaking person must be spoken with regarding a federal aid project site, am I required to do anything special to communicate with them?
This is covered by the Limited English Proficiency component of Title VI. Executive Order 13166 requires meaningful access to all federal financially assisted programs and activities by persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). State "English-only" laws do not relieve an entity that receives federal funding from its responsibilities under federal anti-discrimination laws. Various options are available for providers, including a list of interpreters. Limited English Proficiency Interpreters List
Is there specific Title VI language that is required in contracts for federal aid projects?
Yes. Language required in contracts can be found in the Title VI Party.