NewsMontana and Regional News


Work set to resume on Armington Junction project

armington junction
Posted at 9:39 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 13:03:22-04

GREAT FALLS — The Montana Department of Transportation is about to resume work on the Armington Junction project near Belt. Work is scheduled to begin in mid-April and is expected to be "substantially complete" by the fall of 2022, according to MDT.

The project includes completing a new bridge over Belt Creek on US 87 just north of Armington Junction. Two-way traffic will remain, but drivers may experience minor delays, pilot cars, and signal lights controlling traffic.

In addition to the new bridge, this project will:

  • Reconstruct approximately 3.5 miles of existing road on US 87, including widening the road to five lanes starting from the Belt Creek bridge toward Belt and Great Falls in both directions.
  • Construct a roundabout at Armington Junction.
  • Construct a new culvert over Neil Creek and a new culvert at Frenchman’s Coulee.

According to the MDT, the current "T" intersection at Armington Junction, plus the weigh station and rest area, create 28 conflict points for potential crashes. A single-lane roundabout will reduce those conflict points down to eight. After studying four alternatives and consulting with the public and critical stakeholders, MDT has determined a roundabout is the safest option.

MDT says that crashes at rural intersections often are at high speeds, resulting in severe injuries or fatalities. Approximately 1/3 of annual intersection fatalities in the United States occur along rural, two-lane highways.

Because of the severity of crashes, a crash history analysis performed during the design phase for Armington Junction for 10 years reported nine crashes, including one fatality. More recently, news reports documented an additional three-fatality crash in 2013 and a four-fatality crash in 2019 near Armington Junction.

“Construction season is upon us, and we are excited to provide the traveling public with a seamless ride as a result of this work,” said MDT District Administrator Jim Wingerter in a news release. “MDT thanks the public for their patience as we reconstruct several miles of roadway, allowing it to accommodate larger vehicles, improve the overall driving experience, and meet modern safety standards.”

For more information, click here to visit the project website.

MDT also noted that April 11-15 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, and urges drivers to watch for the “cone zone” and workers on the highway. “These workers spend their days working a short distance from fast-moving vehicles, and while they make every effort to work safely, they are counting on you to pay attention, slow down, and be careful as you pass through the Armington Junction work zone,” said MDT project manager Harold Woodhouse.