Crews will return to the Hardin South project in early spring to seed the shoulders. This activity will not require traffic control, but MDT asks that motorists slow down and watch for workers along the side of the road. In early summer, traffic control operations will resume when KLE begins the chip seal operation. Seal and cover, or chip sealing, is used to extend the life of the roadway, as well as keep water from penetrating the pavement, and enhance the safety of the driving surface. The traveling public should expect loose gravel, reduced speeds, single-lane traffic, and flaggers during these operations. Chip sealing should take a couple of days with pavement striping (painting) happening shortly after. The project should be completed by mid-summer.
What is this project?
The Hardin-South project is a roadway reconstruction project focused on improving State Secondary Highway 313 (S 313) by addressing wear and tear from seasonal loads and improving safety for all users. Additionally, the structure over Williams Coulee will be replaced and the structure over Two Leggins Canal will be maintained with new approaches and safety rails.
The project is located in Big Horn County and is the number one reconstruction priority for the County. Approximately 5.6 miles long, the project area extends south from Hardin towards the Bighorn River.
What can I expect to see?
Over the next few months, Travelers should be alert and watching for:
- Work zone signage;
- Work crews;
- Trucks entering;
- Large equipment; and
- Periodic 15-minute delays.
Public involvement is important to MDT and the success of the project. The community will be notified about public involvement opportunities through this website, local media, mailings, social media channels and other means as the project progresses.
MDT encourages questions and comments about the project. Members of the public can submit through the MDT Comment Form or directly to
Why is it important?
As so many Montanans rely on our roadways and highways to travel, work and play - MDT understands how important it is for those roads to be as safe and functional as possible. Reconstruction projects like this one extend the usable life of a road all while making it safer through better design.
Large seasonal loads on trucks and the amount of traffic in on the roadway have caused damage to alignments, leading to a roller coaster feel in some areas and bumpier rides over damaged road. Work crews will provide better angles on curves, wider roadways, and well-maintained surfaces - all things that keep travelers safe on the road.
Safety in the Area
Between 1995 and 2004, MDT found there were 25 crashes in the area, including 5 truck crashes. While the number may seem low, the percentage of injuries and crashes occurring during the daytime are both well over the state averages in both categories
- 24% of crashes in this area were incapacitating, as compared to the 11% average statewide.
- On average 52% of crashes in the state take place during daylight hours, in this area, that 64% of crashes were in daylight.
Engineer to English
Alignment - The shape and direction of a roadway.
Crash - What we in the business call ‘car accidents.’ Accident implies a random occurrence, but because there is almost always a contributing factor to a vehicle collision, they are called crashes.
Curve Angle - How intense a turn on roadway is. The sharper the angle – the harder the turn feels.
Flagger - A member of the MDT work crew who assists in controlling the flow of traffic in and around a construction project.
Reconstruction - When roadways are repaired through a combination of techniques all aimed at improving the safety and extending the life of the road.
Seasonal Loads - Loads carried by larger trucks or heavy equipment – typically seen during harvest times and other agricultural milestones.
Structure - Technical term for any body of connected parts designed to bear loads – even if it’s not meant to be used by people. Think of things like bridges, canals, dams, railways, and retaining walls.