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Construction slows traffic on U.S. 93

By Kevin Lessard, KCFW Reporter, klessard@kcfw.com
Published On: Sep 04 2013 06:29:29 PM MDT
Updated On: Sep 04 2013 06:57:29 PM MDT
KALISPELL, Mont. -

It’s a headache for some drivers in the Flathead. Commuters who drive on Interstate 93 near the Hutton Ranch Plaza are running into construction, as crews begin working on the northern phase of the Kalispell bypass.

Work began the day after Labor Day.

We wanted to find out exactly what was happening, so we headed down to the construction site to talk first hand with officials.

Project manager Nathan Malmin explained drivers should plan ahead.

"7 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. traffic was backed up substantially, more than what you're used to,” Malmin said.  “It did flow somewhat smooth for the first day, but add a little more time for your commute."

We had Malmin break down the changes in driving routes. He told NBC Montana that the western portion of West Reserve Drive is closed during the construction, as only through traffic is allowed.

Both northbound and southbound U.S. 93 are down to just one lane of traffic.

Malmin says he understands it's an inconvenience for drivers, and wants his crews to be out of there as soon as possible, or there will be consequences.

"There's a penalty for everyday we're not, so they'll be out here working seven days a week, day and night for those 30 days.  Our goal is definitely to get it done earlier.  We understand it's a major inconvenience for the traveling public, so we have all hands on deck to get it done.  That's our goal."

While it may be disrupting drivers now, the project itself is designed to help alleviate traffic, and make it faster to get from one end of Kalispell, to the other.

Malmin says the project on the northern phase of the bypass should be open by late October to early November.