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According to act-test-centers, US 12 is a US Highway in the US state of Montana. The road forms a long east-west route through the center of the state, from the Idaho border through Missoula, Helena, and Miles City to the North Dakota border. The road leads through lonely areas over great distances. US 12 is 960 kilometers long.
US 12 over MacDonald Pass west of Helena.
US 12 through the badlands east of Miles City.
US 12 in Eastern Montana.
At the 1596-foot Lolo Pass, US 12 in Idaho enters the state of Montana from Lewiston, in a mountainous area. The road then descends to Missoula, a somewhat larger town that lies at an altitude of just under 1000 meters. On the south side of Missoula, the road merges with US 93 exiting Twin Falls. Missoula is one of the larger towns in Montana with 57,000 inhabitants. In Missoula, US 12 merges with Interstate 90. Both roads are then 110 kilometers double numbered. US 12 and I-90 lead first through a narrow valley, later a wider valley. At Garrison, US 12 exits for a direct route to the capital Helena, which is about 60 kilometers to the east. At an altitude of 1,900 meters one crosses the Continental Divide, the watershed of the United States. From here, US 12 also has 2×2 lanes into Helena.
Helena is a small town of 26,000, located at the intersection with Interstate 15. The US 12 then merges with the US 287 for more than 50 kilometers. The road leads past Canyon Ferry Lake which borders the Big Belt Mountains. On the south side of the lake, at Townsend, US 12 turns east, US 287 heads south to Three Forks. US 12 then crosses the Big Belt Mountains and arrives at the High Plains, which are still marked in this area by a number of isolated mountain ranges. In uninhabited areas, US 12 merges with US 89 coming from Livingston. Both roads run together north for about 15 miles to just past White Sulfur Springs, with US 12 heading east and US 89 leading to Great Falls.
US 12 then runs south of the Little Belt Mountains, the last higher mountain range. East of this the vast prairies begin. About 90 kilometers to the east you reach Harlowton, a small village where you cross US 191, the north-south route from Bozeman to Lewiston. US 12 then follows the course of the Musselshell River to the east and after about 110 kilometers reaches the next place of interest, the village of Roundup. Here one crosses the US 87. The area around Roundup is a bit more hilly, although the height differences remain limited. There then follows a long lonely route of 160 kilometers to Forsyth. This route runs through a desolate area with only a few hamlets and intersections with mainly unpaved roads. In the village of Forsyth, US 12 merges with Interstate 94.
The road is double numbered with I-94 for about 70 kilometers. At Miles City, eastern Montana’s largest town with a population of 8,000, US 12 exits from I-94 and heads east. This area is also very lonely with only one larger village about 150 miles to the North Dakota border. One crosses a few minor tributaries of the Yellowstone River and only one paved road, the SR-7 that runs from Ekalaka to Wibaux, two meaningless villages in the region. US 12 in North Dakota then continues to Mobridge in South Dakota.
According to liuxers, US 12 was created in 1926. The western starting point at the time was Miles City in eastern Montana. In 1939, the route was changed to access Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, with US 12 following current I-94 and US 212 through Montana. In 1959, the western terminus was changed to Missoula in western Montana, and on to Idaho in 1962. The US 12 connects a number of regional cities, including the capital Helena and the larger city of Montana, so the section between I-90 and Helena is therefore of major importance as a link between two Interstate Highways.
In 1935 the then US 12 east of Miles City was still completely unpaved. At the time, the long stretch through the middle of Montana was State Highway 6 from Townsend to Forsyth and at the time was largely a dirt road, only a part west of Harlowtown was asphalted. Between Garrison, Helena and Townsend, the road was numbered as US 10 Alternate at the time, and was paved before 1935. At the time, the portion west of Missoula was numbered and unpaved as State Highway 9.
As early as 1936, much of US 12 was paved between Miles City and the North Dakota border, and by 1938 the route was completely paved. By 1938, much of what was then State Highway 6 between Townsend and Roundup had also been paved. By 1940, part of the route east of Roundup was also asphalted, but it would take until 1957 for the entire State Highway 6 between Roundup and Forsyth to be asphalted. The last part of the later US 12 to be paved was the part over Lolo Pass on the border with Idaho, which was completely paved in 1958.
The section between Garrison, Helena and Townsend was also numbered US 10N between 1930 and 1959, although maps also indicate it as US 10A. In 1959, State Highway 6 and US 10N became part of US 12. This created double numbers with US 10, namely between Missoula and Garrison in the west of the state and between Forsyth and Miles City in the east of the state. These portions of US 10 would later be canceled due to the construction of I-90 and I-94.
Because Helena would not be connected to I-90 from the west via a highway, US 12 has partly been widened to a 2×2 divided highway. In total there are 40 miles between I-90 at Garrison and Helena, the eastern half of which has been widened to 2×2 lanes, the first being US 12 over MacDonald Pass widened to 2×2 lanes around 1976. This was believed to be the first non-Interstate Highway in Montana which has been widened to 2×2 lanes. In the late 1970s the 2×2 section was extended from the pass and from Helena, but it was not until about 1989 before the entire eastern section between MacDonald Pass and Helena had 2×2 lanes.
There are 800 vehicles per day at the Idaho border, and 2,500 to 3,300 vehicles between I-90 and Helena. The intensities vary between Helena and Miles City, with somewhat busier sections of up to 5,000 vehicles, mainly close to Helena, but also sections with 400 to 500 vehicles. The quietest part is west of Forsyth, with only 250 vehicles per day. Between Miles City and the North Dakota border, 600 to 1,200 vehicles drove.