Study revises Ninepipe Corridor as project remains unfunded

Joshua Murdock

A mixture of highway bridges, wildlife overpasses and culverts is the best option for improving a critical stretch of U.S. Highway 93 just south of Ronan, according to a feasibility study commissioned by the Montana Department of Transportation. 

But now the project is out of money: The study was the last phase that was funded. The state doesn’t have money allocated for project design and engineering, or for construction, in its current five-year funding cycle through 2027. Grants could fund the otherwise stalled project as it approaches 30 years of development. Officials and engineers said that having the up-to-date feasibility study would make the project more competitive in grant applications.

Take a look at a bucking bronc, a giant snowdrift, a long gone mansion and more.

The feasibility study, currently in draft form, refines the state’s vision for improving a dangerous stretch of two-lane highway that sees a high number of wildlife crossings, including grizzly bears. The road crosses an ecologically sensitive area home to a variety of species and the Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge. High groundwater makes reconstruction challenging.

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