New Montana I-90 Rest Area Adds 35 Truck Parking Spots

I-90 to Have 58 Truck Parking Stalls Between Hardin and Billings
Headwaters rest stop
Headwaters Rest Area. (Montana Department of Transportation)

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Montana is progressing on plans to provide more truck parking along its busiest freight route on Interstate 90.

A newly opened rest area near Three Forks offers 35 truck parking spaces, and construction is starting on another rest site to have 58 truck parking stalls between Hardin and Billings.

Within a three-week period, Montana Department of Transportation officials announced that a project to restore the Hardin I-90 Rest Area was beginning as the Headwaters Rest Area prepared to open for travelers near Three Forks. MDT is responsible for maintaining the state’s 36 public rest areas.

The Hardin Rest Area project, at I-90 mile marker 476 between Hardin and Billings, involves redesigning both eastbound and westbound sites with a March 2025 completion scheduled.

Truck parking slots will be added on both sides of the road: 30 on the westbound side (along with a new weigh station) and 28 at the eastbound area. Other new features will be extensive lighting throughout the sites, including highway entry/exit ramps, a fenced pet area and video surveillance for better safety.

Hardin rest area

Hardin Rest Area rendering. (Montana Department of Transportation)

Larry Flynn, MDT interim director, announced the opening of the updated Headwaters Rest Area while thanking the public for its patience for a project that took longer than anticipated. It had been expected to be ready last summer.

MDT officials look forward to having the Headwaters Rest Area “better serve the needs of the traveling public,” Flynn added. The state removed its outdated Bozeman Rest Area and created the Headwaters Rest Area nearby at a more convenient site 3,000 feet north of I-90 on the west side of U.S. Route 287.

The Headwaters Rest Area (twice as large as the old Bozeman one) has 35 truck parking spaces and a new facility sporting safety features, a law enforcement office and modern traveler amenities. The site, picnic area and building were designed to eliminate blind spots. In fact, the rest area was built on the west side of the property at the highest point to maximize visibility, sight lines and security. This location enables local Broadwater County Sheriff and Montana Highway Patrol officers to view the rest area from U.S. 287 and conduct random drive-through patrols.

Lighting is also a key safety feature, including in picnic areas. LED lighting covers 100% of pedestrian and parking areas. Inside the building are eight private restrooms lit by LED lights, with battery backups in case of a power failure, and large windows to provide greater visibility and contribute to better lit hallways.


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Outside there are security systems for the buildings and parking areas with surveillance-type capabilities for storing video, viewing video on-site and error messaging notifications for system failures. Signs also alert visitors about video surveillance. License plate cameras with infrared illumination capture data at the rest area’s entrance and exit.

In addition, the Headwaters Rest Area has a law enforcement office available for use by the sheriff and state police officers as well as MDT Motor Carrier Services. Traveler amenities also include restrooms with changing stations, a toddler seating area, water bottle fillers at drinking fountains, interpretive visitor signs about the area, a fenced pet area and an extended pergola roof for outdoor shade.

MDT’s State Freight Plan for 2022 had identified the Three Forks area as a top priority to add truck parking as well as around Butte.

“Consistent with current trends, I-90 will continue to remain the dominant route for truck movements in Montana as well as experience the largest increase in annual truck trips, by 2050,” the freight plan noted, adding that I-90 provides an essential freight route through the state connecting inland ports and transloading facilities to the major coastal ports in Washington.

Improving truck parking at rest areas and reducing the distances between Montana’s rest areas is an MDT concern. The state determined rest areas with truck parking should be within 70 miles of each other to increase safety and help alleviate driver fatigue. The state freight plan identified two I-90 corridors and 21 other roadway segments with rest areas more than 70 miles apart.

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