Glacier Park Photographer

Glacier Park Photographer
Chief Mountain, Fall Colors - © tonybynum.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Two Medicine Bridge Construction and Glacier National Park

As some of you know construction on the new two medicine bridge has begun. They started this fall. This is the largest bridge project in Montana and plans are for it to be finished in 2012. The state highway department say its such a massive project that there were only three contractors in the US that could even handle a bridge of this scale and in this location (the contractor that won the $30 million dollar job is from Utah). The bridge will be 10 times maybe 20 times the size of the old one. Anyhow, we need a new bridge that's for sure, the old one was just to dangerous - but we dont need a new bridge at the expense of thinking through the construction impacts on our town and glacier national park. 

Here are two videos of the construction sight.  The real intent of the videos is to share with all my glacier park friends what the construction looks like.  I'll post updates as things change. . .  The first on is a bit smaller file so if your download speed is slow watch it first.  The second one is different video of the site.  It is a larger file so it may take more time to load.   






Next summer you can look forward to a lot of construction related issues in East Glacier. The contractor and past county commissioner decided to locate the construction headquarters and concrete batch plant about a mile west of east glacier, on hwy 2 (with no public input) which means all the traffic will be routed though the middle of town - 24-7! It also means that when there are over 200 workers on that bridge and countless trucks hauling round the clock, town will be loud, dusty, and obnoxious, not to mention unsafe. I have already had first hand reports of near misses and disrespectful cemi-truck drivers and there's hardly any workers here yet.  There are other issues that never were addressed and some of us in East Glacier are not happy.

I think there was a more suitable site for the batch plant, on the other side of the bridge - towards Browning - but it was not selected (no environmental review BTW) because it would have increased slightly the price of the build. It would have however reduced the huge conflicts that likely are to arise during tourist season due to traffic and large haul trucks using highway 2 though East Glacier as the only path to the "pour."

I'm very concerned about public safety and our limited water supply. They are pulling water from our system which does not even have enough water to put out a good sized house fire let alone be used to make cement and water roads and keep the dust down . . . I'm planning to hold a meeting for the public to talk about their issues and concerns since only one person showed up to the scoping meeting back in 2000. No comments were received from the public during the review processes. .. and the tribe basically rubber stamped the entire project. .

BTW, where are 200 to 250 people going to live while they are working on the bridge? Where are they going to park and go to the bathroom? No one knows . . .   $30 million dollars of public money an NO environmental review of the batch plant siting?  No analyses of traffic though east glacier and not a single word about a workers camp?  Huh? 

Anyhow, just thought I'd update you on some of the realities of living in East Glacier . . . before i sign off i better say a thing about photography . . .

Shooting is going great.  No cold weather yet, but I'm sure it's on it's way.  It was 55 yesterday and the forecast is for more nice weather, at least for the next day or two . . . Not much color left on the east side.  Some on the west but it too is mostly done.  Let me know if you have any thoughts or questions . . . 

Cheers . .

Tony
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