Sun Road reconstruction was far from a sure thing

Print Article

Id like to congratulate Glacier National Park on completing the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation.

A feat to be celebrated both for the restoration of the road and the fact that the public may not have to endure more! Id wanted to come to Glacier since I was 11 years old reading about the park in the Coral Gables Public Library, little did I know how involved I would become with the park and this project.

The approval to start this project was a very close thing, the National Park Service brass did not want this project to move forward at all, not a penny.

We were told many times, go ahead and do the environmental impact statement, but dont expect that this project will ever be approved much less funded. Its just not in the cards.

They didnt count on the team to be so committed as they doggedly pursued this for nearly eight years. The project was well thought out and included not only reconstruction, but innovative techniques, public transit and transit centers.

When we finished presenting the project to the Development Advisory Board in Denver, to a packed room, the Associate Director Sue Masica, said; I absolutely hate this project, but after that presentation I cant think of a reason we wouldnt approve it.

The room erupted in applause. A key reason for the success of this project was the fact that the management team at the Federal Lands Highway Program committed to our desire for one indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contract for the life of the project of 8-10 years. This had never been done before by FLHP or the NPS and since, at the time, this was the largest project they had performed, it was astonishing.

It enabled us to take advantage of funding year after year. Id like to especially mention Jack Gordon, Mary Riddle, Fred Babb, Gary Danczyk, Glenn Smith, Amy Vanderbilt, The FLHP staff (indispensable), Beth Blacker (couldnt have kept up without you), and the operations staff of the park who dealt with the project for years and kept things running. The real question now is will the NPS provide adequate stewardship over the road and the massive amount of public treasure that was invested into the future. My estimate, based on the National Academy of Science, is that it will require somewhere between 1 percent and 3 percent of the total investment every year on average.

The public should get to know what the plan is, they paid for it and the road is a major economic engine for Montana. Im well aware of the parks specific and broad needs, but not protecting this investment shouldnt be an option.

So what are the plan details Superintendent Mow?

John K. Kilpatrick

Program Manager-Operations Comprehensive Everglades Restoration, Central and Southern Florida project and Okeechobee Waterway. (retired)

Chief of Facility Management Glacier National Park, Senior Project Manager GTSR 1997-2008

Print Article

Read More Letters to the Editor

Bond appreciation

October 16, 2019 at 7:47 am | Hungry Horse News On behalf of the teachers in Columbia Falls District 6, I want to express our sincere appreciation for the voters who supported our recent building levy. We take our part of providing a quality educa...


Read More

Opposes subdivision

October 09, 2019 at 7:28 am | Hungry Horse News In the last several weeks, news of a major subdivision in Columbia Falls hit local papers. Called the Benches, it would be located just east of the Flathead River Bridge and south of U.S. 2, and woul...


Read More

Teachers say thanks

October 09, 2019 at 7:26 am | Hungry Horse News First-grade teachers at Ruder Elementary School would like to thank Scott and Tiffany Wehrmann, parents of a first grader, and Applied Materials for their generous contributions towards flexible seat...


Read More

Thoughts about school bond

October 02, 2019 at 6:54 am | Hungry Horse News For those of you that are new to this area in the last 5-8 years, we have a nice school in Hungry Horse that we moved students from and into Columbia Falls due to low numbers in the Columbia Falls sc...


Read More

Contact Us

(406) 892-2151
PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

©2019 Hungry Horse News Terms of Use Privacy Policy