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Timber clearing in Gallatin Canyon: Traffic delays, helicopters working in area



Timber clearing in the Gallatin Canyon could lead to traffic delays on U.S. Highway 191 through the week of Jan. 27-31, part of a significant transmission upgrade being undertaken by NorthWestern Energy.

The timber clearing and removal will take place on U.S. Forest Service land in the Cascade Creek, Cave Creek, Hellroaring Creek and Indian Ridge areas of the canyon. The work will include the use of helicopters to remove logs, which will lead to safety-driven traffic delays on Highway 191.

Crews ill work to minimize the traffic delays, but motorists are advised to be alert for possible delays and travel cautiously through the work areas. There will signs and other traffic-control measures in place in the affected areas of the canyon, and the Hellroaring Creek trailhead could be closed when helicopters are working in the area.

The timber clearing is part of an overall project that involves upgrading the transmission line running from Four Corners, west of Bozeman, to the Meadow Village area of Big Sky. The existing 69-kilovolt line, constructed in the early 1970s, is being upgraded to a 161-kilovolt line.

The project will more than double the line’s capacity, more reliably serve existing electric needs in the area and allow for anticipated future demand growth, according to NorthWestern Energy.

The upgraded line will largely follow the existing right of way, with the exception of some minor route changes in the Cave Creek and Cascade Creek areas. The project will also eliminate two current Gallatin River line crossings.

NorthWestern said it apologizes in advance for any inconvenience the traffic delays cause travelers.

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