Posted: Oct 6, 2011 4:26 PM by Robin O'Day (KPAX News)
Updated: Oct 6, 2011 9:25 PM
LOLO- A $100,000 grant from the Department of Transportation is going towards a study for a proposed pedestrian, bicycle and non-motorized trail from Missoula to Lolo.
For two decades, Lolo resident Jean Belangie-Nye has been pushing for the eight mile trail, "If we get that pathway, I would be reduced to tears. I mean, this has been a 24 year project for me."
Public Works Assistant Director, Jeff Seaton says they will be able to hire a consultant for the project.
Seaton says despite a narrow highway, a river and a flood plain, a trail could be built, "we can build anything, but we want to make sure we're not breaking the bank when we do it."
The trail is now in a germination process, but to be actualized it's going to take some congressional support, "you want to make sure you're doing these things right, planning and taking the appropriate steps before you go out and start soliciting multiple millions of dollars to build the trail."
Although the grant is one step closer to creating a complete corridor between Hamilton and Missoula, Seaton says there's no telling when or if the trail will be built.
"Moving dirt and laying asphalt is the very last thing. It's the most public thing that you see but it's the very last thing you see in a process that can take multiple years."
Belangie-Nye says the path could prevent future fatalities, "there are 20 crosses at last count, two of them are bicycles and one of them is a pedestrian. Even eliminating one accident makes this pathway worthwhile."