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MDT says it’s looking at intersections; Railroad Street sidewalk likely delayed, again

| May 15, 2024 7:00 AM

By CHRIS PETERSON

Hungry Horse News

The Montana Department of Transportation is examining about a dozen intersections across the Flathead Valley for safety concerns, including the intersection at the Blue Moon on Highway 2 and at the Truck Route in Columbia Falls, which have been concerns of city leaders for years.

The Blue Moon intersection is particularly dangerous for people traveling southbound from Half Moon Road making a left-hand turn onto Highway 2, as there’s no dedicated turn signal and it’s tough to see overtop of oncoming cars making left hand turns in the northbound lane.

At the Truck Route, there isn’t a turn signal at all and with Parkside Credit Union going in, it’s expected the traffic there will get even worse.

Missoula District Administrator Bob Vosen said both intersections are being looked at during a meeting with the Columbia Falls City Council last week.

Vosen also spoke to delays for a new sidewalk for Railroad Street.

Three years ago, the city learned it was in line for a $981,222 Montana Transportation Alternative grant for a sidewalk/ bike path from Fourth Avenue West at Glacier Gateway Elementary all the way up Railroad Street, but the project has stalled as there were right-of-way issues at Nucleus Avenue and elsewhere, where private parties own rights-of-way.

That has to be ironed out before the sidewalk can go in.

If they can’t be negotiated before an October deadline, construction would likely be delayed until 2026. The city has been trying to get a sidewalk on Railroad Street for decades.

The city has to match a portion of the grant, so every year it’s delayed, it ends up costing the city thousands more in matching funds.