Friday, May 24, 2024

Road resurfacing project planned for Rock Creek Road

| April 17, 2024 12:00 AM

The Lolo National Forest will begin a large road improvement project in July on Rock Creek Road, Forest Road 102.

This $1.8 million project, funded by the Legacy Restoration Fund established by the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act, will address the condition of the road by resurfacing it with new gravel and improving drainage features. These changes will benefit forest visitors and Rock Creek residents and business patrons, as well as reduce sediment transport and improve stream conditions for aquatic species, including threatened bull trout.

The work will take place along the entire length of the Forest Service portion of the road within the Missoula Ranger District, which stretches between mile markers 11 and 31. The gravel placement is anticipated to begin at the North end of the road and proceed to the South.

The Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund provided through the Great American Outdoors Act responds to the growing backlog of deferred maintenance, which is currently $7.66 billion, comprised of $4.7 billion for roads and bridges, $540 million for trails and trail bridges, and $2.4 billion for buildings, visitor centers, campgrounds, and other types of facilities. 

“This project represents a significant investment in an important arterial, providing improved access that benefits residents and a multitude of Lolo National Forest visitors. This is also an investment in the health of this unique stream and its aquatic species” said Crystal Stonesifer, District Ranger, Missoula Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest. “We recognize that construction activities can be an inconvenience, however, longer-term benefits will be numerous.”

The Forest has awarded a contract to Cook and Sons Construction, LLC to complete the work. Stockpiling of construction materials and equipment will begin this spring at a designated site 1.5 miles from the end of the pavement.

Construction work will begin after July 1, when the Rock Creek float fishing season ends, and is anticipated to be completed by November. The road will remain open during construction, although delays of approximately 30 minutes should be expected at times. Importantly, we ask that Forest Road users follow posted speed limit signs, obey flaggers or temporary traffic flow lights, and exercise increased caution through any construction zone.

It is anticipated that construction activities will not result in closures of any Rock Creek recreation amenities, including campgrounds, boat launches, dispersed sites, and cabin rentals.