Hundreds of vehicles a day backed up on U.S. Highway 93 between Missoula and Lolo are being delayed by a microsurfacing project being done by the State of Montana Department of Transportation and Riverside Construction. 

Engineering Project manager Darrell Williams said the delays are being caused by a combination of five different projects.

"Together, they range all the way from Hamilton to Missoula," Williams said. "The Missoula to Lolo portion is microsurfacing, which is an alternative to chip sealing. The advantages of microsurfacing is there are no lose chips afterwards, and it will fill in existing ruts. It serves the same purpose as chip sealing to extend the service lifetime of the roadway. We're hoping that the microsurfacing project from the north end of Lolo to the Buckhouse Bridge can be completed by the end of the week."

Williams said the remainder of the project from the north end of Buckhouse Bridge to Reserve Street will wait until next July, when the weather is most conducive to construction, and the work will be done during the overnight hours to better accommodate travel on the busy roadway.

Williams said another part of the job is being done during the overnight hours.

"Another part of the job is removing all the barrier rail between Blue Mountain and the Lolo flats area," he said. "We removed all that barrier rail and  starting last night, we began installing the new barrier rail. They started at about six and night and went till about six in the morning."

Williams said the microsurfacing cannot be done at night due to cooler weather conditions.

Williams said managers and workers appreciate the patience shown by drivers between Missoula and Lolo for the remainder of the project.