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Mysterious road sign blasts Montana Department of Transportation

By Grace Ditzler, KTVM Reporter, gditzler@ktvm.com
Published On: Nov 04 2013 06:48:14 PM MST
Updated On: Nov 05 2013 03:56:39 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

The man who put up a road sign south of Butte blasting the Montana Department of Transportation tells NBC Montana it's coming down Monday night.

The sign looks like a Montana Department of Transportation road sign, but a closer read shows the sign claims the Department of Transportation is spreading weed infested soil.
 
It's located off Interstate 15,  near exit 119 South of Butte.

Bill Rauch said he's been living in the middle of a construction zone for about six months.

"The more I looked at it, the more worried I got," he said. "I thought, 'you're just spreading weeds.'"

He's talking about the Montana Department of Transportation project south of Butte that includes the Nissler Interchange, the Silver Bow Hub, and wetland creation.

He showed NBC Montana where the top soil came from, and said he is concerned that the dirt is infested with weeds and it's being spread around other parts of the project.

"I didn't think at the time that constructing a wetland in leafy spurge was a good idea," Rauch said.

He said he raised his concerns to the Department of Transportation, but said they didn't listen, and that's when he decided to put up the sign.

"I decided I'd make a sign and make the public aware of what was really happening," he explained.

Jeff Ebert at the Montana Department of Transportation said there's more to this story.

"It was probably more of a lack of communication between the two parties not getting together," he explained.

He said very little of the leafy spurge top soil was spread along the interstate.

Ebert said they've laid good mulch, grass seed, and compost along with about 10,000 cubic yards of the topsoil Rauch is concerned about.

"Our intent is to get some grass growing and then monitor the areas that have been seeded and make sure we get good grass stand out there," Ebert said.

Their plan is to deal with the weeds in the spring time, once they've sprouted but before they grow and spread.

"We don't want to promote noxious weeds spreading in Butte or Silver Bow County or the state of Montana, that's not what the Department of Transportation is about," Ebert said.

But Bill thinks with a little more forethought, a lot of this could have been avoided. He's hoping his sign raises awareness of noxious weeds in Montana.

"I'm hoping by the sign and public awareness, they'll have to follow up on all of this," Rauch said.

MDT said the sign was put up illegally and violates laws regarding right-of-way and where objects like mail boxes, fences, signs and buildings can be placed along the interstate.