Four lanes sought across Montana's Hi-Line

| 12/8/2004

Montana’s Gov.-elect Brian Schweitzer on Tuesday, Dec. 6 assured a group of government, tribal and economic development leaders from the state’s Hi-Line region that he supports their push to expand U.S. 2 into a four-lane highway.

Schweitzer, who will take office Jan. 3, said he considers an updated transportation corridor across northern Montana vital to economic development in that depressed region of the state, The Associated Press reported. He also said that the new state Transportation Secretary he appoints will have to be an advocate for eventual construction of a four-lane highway there.

Dennis Morgan, a Havre, MT, business owner and director of the Highway 2 Association, urged Schweitzer to back a proposal for transforming an initial 12-mile section of U.S. 2 east of Havre into a four-lane road, rather than proceed with simply adding passing and turning lanes, as the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration have agreed to do on the heavily-traveled section of highway.

That, Morgan acknowledged, wouldn’t do much for economic growth in the area, but would be a necessary first step toward expanding the entire highway.

“If we can get that into four lanes,” he said, “we will be able to show what we need to do up there.”

In North Dakota, road crews began work this summer on widening U.S. 2 between Minot and Williston.