Bright orange signifies two things to look out for in Montana; other hunters, and road construction. Road construction is so abundant during times when snow isn’t covering everything, you may have heard this common expression: Montana has two seasons, winter and road construction.
No matter which season you happen to be driving in, it is always helpful to get a heads up on conditions. Here are a few resources you can use to make sure road construction doesn’t put a cramp in your next outdoor adventure in Montana:
1) Plan Ahead:
When mapping out your route you can check the following:
- Construction projects: See a full list of construction projects going on throughout the state by visiting www.mdt.mt.gov, or access the list by clicking here.
- Interactive Map: If you are more of a visual person, this map will give you a general idea of road conditions throughout the state just click here.
- Road Cameras: sometimes you just need to see it to believe it. MDT has road cameras places on most of the passes throughout the state, find a list of links to road cameras here.
- NATIONAL PARKS – they have their own system for reporting road conditions:
- Yellowstone Park road construction projects and conditions (click here,) or by phone: 307-344-2117
- Glacier Park road construction projects and conditions (click here.)
2) Dial 511
- This is a great resource if you are on the road and need to know what is up ahead. Just call 511, and take a deep breath because it requires a little patience. You will be instructed to follow a few steps to get you the right road conditions, but it is usually accurate and relatively painless.
- TIP: If all else fails and you need to talk to a person, press 5 …it will connect you to “tourism information” but the counselors are usually pretty helpful and will try their best to look up road conditions for you. Live operators answer calls Monday through Friday 7am-6pm.
3) Pack Snacks
- Keep snacks and bottled water in your vehicle in case you are held up by road construction. Delays can last up to 20 minutes sometimes, and keeping your blood sugar and hydration levels normal will help keep you calm.
4) Play Games
- When stuck at a construction site, or when having to take a detour, try playing a game to pass the time. For a list of road trip games click here.
- Learn a little Montana trivia along the way. Click here for fun facts and figures.
- It might sound nuts, but when the frustration of stop and go traffic and construction workers in hard hats just makes you want to start mowing people over in your car…wave. Put a bit smile on your face real big and goofy, and see how many people you can get to wave back. Wave to other drivers and wave to construction workers. They have to be outside in often unsavory conditions dealing with grumpy drivers for long hours during the day, a friendly or goofy wave might just make their day, and pull you out of a bad mood.
- TRAFFIC FINES DOUBLE in highway work zones. The law also set fines and jail sentences for reckless endangerment of highway workers.
- MINOR DELAYS (up to ten minutes) can be expected through these projects with anything over ten minutes being noted in the description. Watch for equipment, flaggers, and workers along the road. Expect reduced speed limits.