The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is designing proposed improvements to a nearly six-mile section of Interstate 90 (I 90) in the Lolo National Forest beginning on the Montana side of the Montana-Idaho border. The I 90 Lookout Pass to Taft project area is in rugged, mountainous, and heavily forested terrain and roughly parallels the upper reaches of the St. Regis River. The area is used for recreational activities during both summer and winter, and access is provided at two interchanges including Lookout Pass and Taft. The Dena Mora Rest Area is located near the eastern end of the project area.
The project will include replacing deteriorated pavement with new, more durable concrete, and additional improvements including:
- Lookout Pass Interchange safety enhancements
- Evaluation of wildlife crossing opportunities
- Drainage improvements and culvert replacements
The proposed improvements will be constructed within the existing roadway width, so right-of-way impacts are not anticipated at this time.
The project is currently in the design phase and construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2024 and extend through 2025. Construction will be limited to one side (eastbound or westbound) of the interstate at a time to maintain one lane of traffic in each direction on I 90 during construction.
MDT understands the importance of this section of interstate highway to area recreationalists, interest groups, and roadway users. We welcome your feedback and encourage you to learn more about these upcoming transportation improvements.
Project Location Map
The project begins on the Montana and Idaho border and extends almost 6 miles easterly to the Taft Interchange. Local access is provided at two interchanges: Lookout Pass and Taft. The Dena Mora Rest Area is located near the eastern end of the project area.
The project is currently in the early design phase. Early design phase means the design is about 30% complete. This phase of roadway development requires surveys, studies, fieldwork, stakeholder engagement, right-of-way determination, construction feasibility, and funding identification. Survey and field work will continue in 2022 with design of the proposed roadway continuing throughout 2023.
Construction is anticipated to begin in the spring of 2024. The construction timeline is not yet finalized and will continue to be developed as the design progresses.
Stakeholder and public feedback are encouraged throughout all project phases to ensure MDT identifies a solution that best meets the traffic and safety needs of the community and all those who travel the roadway.
Montana's roads and bridges are mainly funded through a combination of federal (88.5%) and state/local (11.5%) funding sources. MDT receives no funding from Montana's general fund revenue. Federal road and bridge revenues are generated from the users of our highways through gasoline and diesel fuel taxes and apportioned to states through federal highway legislation.
MDT prioritizes the highest needs across the state making careful funding decisions each year.