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With more than 32,000 miles of roads, Montana’s national forests provide more than enough opportunity for vehicle travel.  Despite all these roads, the Forest Service does not have the money to maintain them.  It just doesn’t make sense to build a road 10 miles in the backcountry when a bridge is about ready to wash out a mile from the highway.  Look below to see the road maintenance backlog on the national forest nearest you.


Region 1 – Montana – National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total Forest Service roads on National Forest Land in MT:
32,531 miles
Annual Forest Service road maintenance backlog in MT: $35 million
Forest Service cumulative road maintenance backlog in MT: $558 Million


(1) Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                         4,711
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                    1,077
Miles not receiving maintenance:                                 3,634
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                      22.8%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                                $3,399,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                         $901,000
2005                                                                         $993,000
2004                              $1,160,000
2003                              $875,000

Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $2,406,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):            29.2%

Charts (pdf)


(2) Bitterroot National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                       2,581
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                  790
Miles not receiving maintenance:                               1,791
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                    30.6%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                               $3,039,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $568,000
2005                                                                        $636,000
2004                              $620,000
2003                                                                        $811,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $2,403,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           21%

Charts (pdf)


(3) Custer National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                       1,518
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                  102
Miles not receiving maintenance:                               1,416
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                    6.7%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                               $7,395,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $462,000
2005                                                                        $427,000
2004                                                                        $403,000
2003                                                                        $386,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $6,968,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           5.7%

Charts (pdf)


(4) Flathead National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                         3,434
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                    2,069
Miles not receiving maintenance:                                 1,365
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                      60%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                                $9,670,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $1,111,000
2005                                                                        $1,018,000
2004                                                                        $1,204,000
2003                                                                        $1,240,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $8,652,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           10.5%

Charts (pdf)


(5) Gallatin National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                       1,651
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                  314
Miles not receiving maintenance:                               1,337
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                    19%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                               $637,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $595,000
2005                                                                        $539,000
2004                                                                        $528,000
2003                                                                        $630,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $98,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           84.6%

Charts (pdf)


(6) Helena National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                       2,838
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                  240
Miles not receiving maintenance:                               2,598
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                    8.5%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                               $2,523,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $450,000
2005                                                                        $527,000
2004                                                                        $561,000
2003                                                                        $830,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $1,996,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           21%

Charts (pdf)


(7) Kootenai National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog 2005

Total System Roads (miles):                                        7,921
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005):                  679
Miles not receiving maintenance (2005):                     7,242
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                     8.6%

Annual Maintenance needed:                                    $9,815,000
Annual Maintenance Received:                         
2006                             $1,537,000
2005                                                                        $1,623,000
2004                                                                        $1,860,000
2003                                                                        $1,027,000
Annual Maintenance Shortfall (2005):                       $8,192,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           16.5%

Charts (pdf)


(8) Lewis & Clark National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                        1,667
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005)                   284
Miles not receiving maintenance:                                1,383
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                     17%

Annual Maintenance needed ($):                               $2,315,000
Annual Maintenance received:
2006                                                                        $600,000
2005                                                                        $454,000
2004                                                                        $458,000
2003                                                                        $497,000
Annual Maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $1,861,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):           19.6%

Charts (pdf)


(9) Lolo National Forest Annual Road Maintenance Backlog

Total System Roads (miles):                                           6,200
Total miles receiving maintenance (2005):                     479
Miles not receiving maintenance                                     5721
Percentage of miles actually maintained:                        7.7%

Annual maintenance needed ($):                                   $4,541,000
Annual maintenance received:                         
2006                              $958,000
2005                             $1,101,000
2004                              $1,098,000
2003                                                                         $1,027,000
Annual maintenance shortfall (2005):                        $3,440,000
Percentage of needed budget received (2005):            24.2%

Charts (pdf)


Compiled from:

  • INFRA; jurisdiction FS, System NFSR, Status Existing
  • INFRA Annual Maintenance Inventories
  • FY05 Road Accomplishment Report