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MDT gives update on Headwaters Rest Area

Last week, the Montana Department of Transportation issued a construction update on the Headwaters Rest Area near Three Forks.  

Since the original announcement of relocating the current rest area in Bozeman to near the I 90/US 287 interchange, residents have voiced numerous concerns, including a 2021 petition aiming to halt the relocation that included over 1,000 signatures. A later dropped lawsuit was filed in 2021 in Montana Judicial Court in Townsend by concerned area landowners.

According to the release from MDT, construction is moving forward on the Headwaters Rest Area.

"To serve the needs of the traveling public's safety, this new rest area will include many modern design and safety improvements including open sight lines for patrolling, security cameras, and LED lighting throughout the interior and exterior areas. An additional feature of the new facility will be a Law Enforcement Office that will be available for use by the Broadwater County Sheriff, Montana Highway Patrol, and MDT Motor Carrier Services," states the release.

Over the next couple of months, the interior details will be finished, the road and parking lot will be paved, and landscaping will be installed. Work to add a turning lane to US 287 will begin in late July. Some brief delays to the traveling public may occur. Those traveling are being asked to drive carefully through the work zone.

The new rest area is being constructed by the Montana Rest Area JV Partners (a C.A. Rickert and Associates Inc./Diamond Construction Joint Venture) team and will ultimately replace the rest area located at the 19th Avenue interchange in Bozeman. The transition to the new rest area is anticipated to begin in fall of 2022, following construction and utility system connections.

"Wheatland" area resident Justin Brewer shared concerns with the Voice over the MDT release.

"MDT's most recent press release is a wonderful piece singing their own praises for all the good they're doing for travelers, yet it overlooks some very important factors. First, the fact that by the time this masterpiece is completed, it will be well beyond the time where summer travelers will most 'benefit' from it. Second, their statement glosses over the overwhelming objection from the community by simply ignoring it," said Brewer. "Apparently, if we sing our own praises and simply tell everyone that this is all for their own good, then we do not have to acknowledge how we've bullied an entire community. From this point on, integrity would demand the MDT (along with all the associated construction companies) acknowledge the lack of care about the Three Forks residents when they issue press releases concerning the Headwaters Rest Area. Three Forks residents will not hold their breath for MDT to show integrity at this point, however."

More information about the project can be found at the project website: Comments, questions or concerns can be directed to [email protected] or by calling (406) 551-1473.

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