GREAT FALLS — Gusty winds are again creating hazardous driving conditions along US Highway 87 between Great Falls and Fort Benton.
The Montana Department of Transportation closed most of the road for several hours on Monday due to near-zero visibility caused by blowing dust and at least one crash.
Conditions are somewhat better today and the road is open, but the MDT urges drivers to be very cautious and to reduce speed as visibility decreases.
MDT posted the following alert on Tuesday morning for US Highway 87, especially near the Cascade/Chouteau county line: "BLOWING DIRT IS CAUSING POOR VISIBILTY. REDUCE SPEEDS AND USE CAUTION. SINGLE LANE TRAFFIC AND FLAGGERS. EXPECT SOME DELAYS."
In addition, similar conditions are reported along US Highway 80 between Fort Benton and Geraldine. The MDT said: "7 TO 15 MILES EAST OF FORT BENTON. BLOWING DIRT CAUSING POOR VISIBILITY, TURN ON HEADLIGHTS, REDUCED SPEEDS AND USE CAUTION."
Similiar conditions are reported along US Highway 89 between Great Falls and Belt: "5 TO 7 MILES EAST OF GREAT FALLS TOWARDS BELT. BLOWING DIRT CAUSING POOR VISIBILTY, TURN ON HEADLIGHTS, REDUCE SPEEDS AND USE CAUTION."
The City of Great Falls posted on Facebook: "The Montana Department of Transportation notified City Sanitation that the highway may be closed again today if high winds continue. The worst of the problem starts at mile marker 14, past the landfill road. MDT will be allowing Sanitation trucks to go around road blocks to go to the landfill to empty trucks. City Sanitation will resume pick up today. We appreciate your patience as we try to catch up on our routes for the week."