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Roadwork for alpine coaster project begins on U.S. 93

by KATE HESTON
Daily Inter Lake | June 2, 2023 12:00 AM

Work is beginning on the installation of a left-turn lane on U.S. 93 near Lakeside to ease access to and from a new alpine coaster attraction.

The project will take place north of the unincorporated community and just south of Lakeview Drive. Crews are expected to widen the roadway to current Department of Transportation standards, perform pavement work and add a left-hand turn lane.

Officials expect travelers heading through the work zone through June 17 to see few delays, though they caution motorists to slow down in the area.

The pavement work, including the addition of the turn lane, is expected to begin June 17 and last around a week. During this time, motorists can expect to run into lane closures, officials said. Those traveling through the area should anticipate 10- to 15-minute delays.

The work performed by crews will include crack sealing, chip sealing and fog sealing, according to a press release from the Wedel family, owners of the not-yet-opened alpine coaster.

The road work comes after the completion of the approach and encroachment permits for the project via the Montana Department of Transportation’s Systems Impact Action Process review.

The Wedels, through their firm, Wilderness Land Holdings, announced the project at the end of May after receiving the go-ahead from the state Department of Transportation.

Egress to and from the site of the coaster has proved a sticking point between the Wedels and nearby critics of the project, who argue that traffic generated by the coaster will result in hazardous driving conditions.

Neighbors found out about the project a little more than a year ago. Efforts to halt the development, which is located on unzoned land in Flathead County, sprung up soon after.

The Montana Transportation Commission in April approved plans for roadway upgrades and the installation of a northbound left-turn lane at the entrance to the property along U.S. 93. The project came with the recommendation of the state transportation agency, which had worked with the developers to address traffic safety concerns.

Residents with questions about the ongoing road work are encouraged to call 406-270-2529. Updates will be provided as construction progresses, officials said.

Reporter Kate Heston can be reached at kheston@dailyinterlake.com or 758-4459.

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