Montana senator abandons pursuit of four-lane highway

| 2/14/2005

A Montana state lawmaker has given up on his push to carve a four-lane highway across the state’s Hi-Line as a means of sparking economic growth.

Sen. Sam Kitzenberg, R-Glasgow, said state transportation officials convinced him his measure forbidding the state from building anything but a four-lane U.S. 2 would prevent a host of projects already planned for the highway.

“It would shut everything down,” including construction work needed to make the aging two-lane highway safer, he told The Associated Press.

Kitzenberg said he is more optimistic than he was before because Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the Transportation Department director, Jim Lynch, support the idea of someday forging a four-lane U.S. 2 across northern Montana.

Lynch said MDT has about $200 million worth of U.S. 2 work in various stages of planning. The projects are scheduled over the next four years.

SB306 was in the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee prior to Kitzenberg’s withdrawal.