Montana Department of Transportation

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Public Involvement

US-2 Poplar Improvements

US-2 Poplar Improvements landscape

Project Overview

US-2 Poplar is a project to rehabilitate the existing roadway and enhance safety and accessibility for all roadway users through the town of Poplar. It addresses longstanding safety concerns at the Kirn Rd intersection, while providing surface improvements and enhanced pedestrian facilities to prepare the community for future growth.

Recent

Recently, artists in Poplar began placing the cement buffalo skulls which is part of the landscaping for the new roundabouts. Our crew on the ground were able to snap this picture. For more project updates, please visit our Project Updates page.

Cement Buffalo Skull
Click on the image for a larger view

Planned Improvements

Originally proposed as a major rehabilitation of the existing roadway surface, the scope of the project was expanded in response to local concerns regarding vehicle speeds through town and crashes involving pedestrians.

  • Pavement Rehabilitation
    • Two miles of new roadway surface through the heart of Poplar reducing wear and tear on vehicles.
  • Safer School Crossing
    • Enhanced school crossing featuring curb bulb-outs, pedestrian refuge islands, and a pedestrian activated flashing beacon to improve visibility of pedestrians.
  • ADA Accessibility
    • Updates to sidewalk corners allowing users to more easily get on and off sidewalks.
  • Improved Lighting
    • New lighting throughout the project area improves visibility for both motorized and non-motorized users.
  • New Crosswalk
    • Dedicated crossing near 6th Ave E. featuring a pedestrian activated flashing beacon.
  • Intersection Roundabouts
    • A pair of roundabouts at Kirn Rd and 5th Avenue will reduce the potential for crashes at the intersections while lowering vehicle speeds through town. Each roundabout will feature a well-lit crosswalk with pedestrian refuge islands to reduce exposure at the intersection.

Impacts to the Public

MDT is committed to working with local stakeholders to minimize construction impacts on industry and the traveling public. Two-way traffic will continue during the majority of the construction; however, motorists should be prepared for the following:

  • Reduced speeds and delays of up to 15 minutes
  • Limited lane closures
  • Width restrictions in construction zones
  • Temporary cross-road closures and minor detours
  • Temporary side-walk closures and pedestrian detours

Land owners and local businesses will maintain full-time access to their property throughout construction.

Because this is a construction project the traveling public is asked to prepare for delays of up to 15 minutes and is reminded to slow down and watch for work crews and equipment in construction zones.

Timely detour and delay information can be found at the Travel Conditions web page.

Project Timeline and Cost

Construction of the roundabouts was substantially completed in 2019. Finishing touches, final concrete work, and signage and landscaping work will occur in the spring of 2020. The US 2 Poplar project’s estimated $14 million construction cost includes many factors. It is a 2-mile urban area reconstruction project which includes new pavement, curb and gutter, sidewalks, lighting, signals, crosswalk improvements, and major drainage features, as well as two new roundabouts.

Why Poplar?

Due to their ability to dramatically reduce serious and fatal injury crashes at intersections, roundabouts have now been installed in many locations throughout Montana, including in small towns such as Lame Deer and several completely rural locations. MDT now has ten years of before and after data on one of those rural roundabouts showing a 100% reduction in fatal crashes, an 87% reduction in injury crashes, and a 26% reduction in total crashes. The roundabouts on US 2 Poplar are targeted at addressing similar intersection-related crashes on US 2 through Poplar, including one fatal crash. MDT also anticipates the Poplar roundabouts to more effectively calm traffic and provide slower and more uniform speeds through town.

US 2 is one of Montana’s major east-west corridors and has experienced an influx of traffic, including a large increase in truck traffic, going back over a decade. This has led to a major need to rehabilitate the pavement through the town of Poplar. The need to address the deteriorating pavement was the primary reason a project was identified. MDT also prioritized the need to improve safety in the process.

Stay in the Know

The Montana Department of Transportation is committed to keeping the Poplar community informed as work progresses. Look for project updates on the following platforms.

  • SMS Alerts: Text "PoplarMT" to 555-888 for timely project updates.
  • Project Hotline: Call the project hotline at 406-431-2499 with a question or concern.
  • Email: Send an to sign-up for weekly project updates.