DRUMMOND – More than five months after the rock slide, workers were on scene Monday in an apparent attempt to clear the road.
Workers on scene declined to answer any questions, but could be seen working on and alongside the road. One crew was drilling holes, either for a jersey rail or road sign, while a second group looked to be clearing at least a portion of the road to place k-rails.
Word started passing Sunday afternoon via social media that the roadway had been cleared, but upon investigation Monday morning the crews appeared to working on getting the road cleared and guarded with cement k-rails.
The original rock slide occurred the morning of April 4, but residents that live along the frontage road and in the adjoining canyons were unable to get any response from state agencies. They contacted the Flint Creek Courier in mid-August, asking for help on their behalf.
The Flint Creek Courier was able to contact the Montana Department of Transportation (MDOT) and speak with Maintenance Technician Chad Person August 21 who stated that a contract crew was slated to be out the following week (Aug. 26) to clear the road to a single lane so that residents could pass the 300-yard stretch of road on a line of sight basis.
Montana House District 77 representative Mark Sweeney saw the posts on Facebook and became involved, calling MDOT and being told that the crews would be out to the clean up the rock slide.
But the work was not done at that time.
Pearson stated that MDOT is examining all of the possible options for the road, which include: clearing it and repairing the hillside, clearing it to one lane and adding protective barriers, or possibly abandoning the road altogether.
Sweeney and Pearson were both unavailable for comment Monday.
Since the closure residents have had to either traverse the frontage road 10 miles back to Drummond to access the I-90 (adding an additional 40 miles round trip in some cases) or using Mullan Road that runs on the south side of the highway to get to the I-90 at the Bearmouth on-ramp. Mullan is a dirt road with a washboard surface and a number of blind curves that make the trek dangerous for residents and Drummond School buses as they make their rounds each morning and afternoon.
A video drive of that road can be found below in a previous report by the Flint Creek Courier.