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What is the purpose of this Corridor Study?

The purpose of this project is to identify recommended transportation improvements to the US 93 corridor that will meet the corridor’s operational and user needs for the next 20 years.

The planning process will consider the needs of local residents in Missoula, Florence and Lolo along with other residents in the region and the traveling public. Both the current and future demands of personal and commercial travelers through the region will be considered.

The project team will develop a corridor study that takes into consideration items such as current and future projected traffic volumes and speed, intersection function, multimodal transit needs and opportunities, wildlife crossings, and user safety. Together, these findings will help illustrate corridor deficiencies and guide the identification of corridor purpose, need and goals.  The established corridor purpose, need and goals will form the basis for development, evaluation and recommendation of improvements to the corridor.   

What is the study area?

The project study area encompasses the stretch between Florence and Missoula.  Specifically, the study area begins at south side of the Brooks St. and Reserve St. intersection and ends at the south side of Florence where the two lane section begins.

How can the public/community contribute to the study?

The General Public is invited to participate in the process through public meetings and ongoing project information review and input.  This project web site has been developed to provide on-line opportunities to comment on the needs of the region’s transportation system and later, on the draft study recommendations.  Dates, times, and locations will be announced prior to the events through the local media and the project mailing list.  

Those with a specific interest in the project are encouraged to join the project mailing list.  They can do so by submitting their name and contact information to Sheila Ludlow at the address or e mail shown below, calling the recorded comment line at (800) 714-7296, or completing and returning the project postcard that will be mailed to residents in the project area. 

To keep the public informed about the study, project information is being published on this web site, in local media venues, and in newsletters. The public may also provide input or questions by contacting any of the individual contacts listed on the left.

How are community leaders and agencies involved in the study?

The planning process will be collaborative in nature, involving area elected officials, agency representatives, transportation organizations, user groups and landowners to ensure local perspectives are represented.  An Advisory Committee will be formed to facilitate ongoing participation and guidance by key stakeholders, agencies, and organizations. The Advisory Committee will meet with the project team on a regular basis to provide input, share ideas and review and comment on draft study recommendations.

Who is the project management team?

The Montana Department of Transportation will manage the process and lead a team of consultants to complete the Study the end of 2007.

How will the results of the study be used?

The results of the study will be used to guide MDT and other local entities in planning for improvements to the US 93 corridor and to adjacent and related transportation facilities.  It is anticipated that these recommendations will be integrated into updates of the long-range transportation plans of MDT, and other local affected planning agencies.  The results of the study will also provide information to support decision maker’s efforts to identify funding for future projects.

MDT and the project team will collect and consider all public comments received to better understand the public view of potential alternatives and their impacts. MDT will then determine the alternative(s) that best meets the project’s purpose and need and has the support of cooperating organizations, regulatory agencies, corridor stakeholders, and the general public.

How will alternatives be evaluated?

Decision-makers will inherently be faced with tradeoffs during the process.  The study is designed to determine impacts – potentially both adverse and beneficial – of various improvements that could be made in the corridor. Consideration of planned and on-going land development, the environment, and community values, as well as sound engineering standards, will shape many of the alternatives. The alternatives will also be evaluated for consistency with the purpose and need of the project. The determination of a preferred alternative will involve comparing the tradeoffs among the various alternatives as well as a review of the public comments pertaining to the draft study recommendations. MDT will consider these comments, evaluate new information as may be deemed appropriate (including information suggesting a new alternative), and then meet with agencies and other key stakeholders to consider the attributes of the various alternatives. The final study will include the outcome of this process and the identification of a preferred alternative, which includes both recommended physical improvements to the corridor and policy recommendations.

Who makes the decisions regarding the study?

The project team consists of individuals representing MDT, and other consultants. Based on community input, traffic, engineering, environmental, and economic information, the project team will make recommendations to MDT, who will subsequently make the final decision regarding recommended improvements.