The Stevensville Safety Improvements project on the East Side Highway is a busy place. Crews are working in two main areas on both the north and south ends of the six-mile stretch south of Stevensville to the Victor Crossing intersection.

And motorists are getting a little too anxious, according to the Montana Highway Patrol. In the weekly construction update, officials said the troopers have been ticketing people who have not been driving safely in the construction zones. It takes a while for the pilot cars to guide vehicles through the zones, some of them stretching for quite a distance. So, follow the instructions on the road signs and wait at the red traffic lights for the pilot car.
And, if you're in a hurry, you can always use US 93.

The project will make the road safer. The Montana Department of Transportation is adding four feet of sloping shoulder to each side of Highway 269 (East Side Highway). That requires quite a lot of earthmoving, with large machines that need to use at least half the roadway, just to back up. Then, there's the utility work alongside and under the route.

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Right now, the north end of the project includes laying pipe under the road and waiting for utility crews to install gear. On the south end, crews are compacting soil and dropping in some more gravel. There are traffic lights and Pilot Cars near each area of work, so expect some minor delays during the weekday work hours between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m..

Further work includes the Bell Crossing intersection on the East Side Highway. It will get a new traffic light system, which will activate when vehicles approach. The intersection itself will have new overhead lights. And, elsewhere along the route, there will be some new mailbox pull-out areas for residents, along with some sections of guardrails. Schellinger Construction and the Montana Department of Transportation have an online information site.

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