|Superior, Montana– The Forest Service is coordinating with NorthWestern Energy and Bonneville Power on several utility projects this summer that will ocurr adjacent to Forest Service recreation trails on the Superior and Plains/Thompson Falls Ranger Districts of the Lolo National Forest. The work will take place within the utility line corridor but will not require any trail closures. There are expected to be some minor impacts to trail users due to equipment operating near these trails – such as the Route of The Olympian.
Recreationists should exercise caution, travel at an appropriate speed and be aware of equipment operating on Forest Service roadways north and south of Taft and along the Route of the Olympian.
NorthWestern Energy will be conducting pole replacement work on the transmission line from the Taft substation to Crow Creek starting June 19, 2017. The utility company intends to start work from Taft and the mouth of Crow Creek simultaneously with both crews working towards Taft summit. NorthWestern will also be replacing powerline poles this summer on sections of their distribution lines between Deborgia and Haugan along the frontage road. This project will utilize a helicopter to set poles in locations that are not feasible to get ground equipment to.
NorthWestern Energy will also be continuing vegetation management work in the Right-of-Way of their transmission line between Haugan and Taft. This work is scheduled to start back up June 12, 2017. Work will be conducted along the Route of the Olympian during this project.
Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) will also be implementing several projects this summer in the Taft area. BPA has started a vegetation management project in Crow Creek and will be working their way up to Taft summit and down Randolph Creek in the upcoming months. They will be removing vegetation from within their Right-of-Way. Recreationists should expect to encounter equipment on the roadways.
BPA will also be continuing work on the Bald Mountain to Taft fiber optic cable installation project. BPA anticipates to resume work in August and work through October, 2017. BPA will start work along the Rainy Creek Road south of I-90 out of Taft, moving north across I-90 and up Randolph Creek.
There is expected to be a higher level of congestion around the Taft area through the summer months with these on-going projects and the summer recreation use from Lookout Pass and the Route of The Hiawatha.
If you have any questions regarding these projects you may contact the Superior Ranger District at 406-822-4233 or the Plains Ranger District at 406-826-3821.
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