In Montana, South of Laurel, the continuing growth in traffic and reoccurring crashes on the heavily used US 310/US 212 route indicated the need for better local traffic circulation. A multiphase Rockvale to Laurel reconstruction project was initiated to address safety concerns and capacity needs for vehicular traffic.
The railroad overpass south of Laurel was the first phase of the project, and it replaced the railroad underpass and substandard two-lane roadway south of Laurel with a new overpass over the BNSF Railway. The second phase of reconstruction included overhead lighting, the adding of turn lanes, and the replacement of the flashing beacon at the Rockvale North intersection. Phase three connected the two previously constructed phases with two fully operational lanes, which shifted roadways west onto the hills and out of the river bottom minimizing impacts to existing farms, homes, and communities. These improvements allow for the additional fourth phase in the near future to expand US310/US 212 from two lanes to four.
As of phase three’s completion, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) constructed 10.8 miles of new highway. The new road now carries two lanes of traffic on a new alignment, meeting current design standards. A ribbon-cutting event for the US 212/310 from Rockvale to Laurel Project was held on June 26, 2019, officially opening the new road to the public.