Jan 6, 2013 1:28 PM by KPAX/KAJ Media Center
MISSOULA - A meeting to look at the possibility of expanding the existing pedestrian trail from Lolo into Missoula will be talked about during a Tuesday open house.
Missoula County officials are conducting a feasibility study on multiple possible pedestrian trail routes between the southern terminus of the Bitterroot Branch Trail in Missoula and the northern terminus of the U.S. Highway 93 pathway.
The connection would mean there would be a separated pedestrian trail running about 45 miles from Hamilton to Missoula.
Trail backers say that if a route can be found from Lolo to Missoula, it would have significant implications for bicyclists and pedestrians, further providing transportation options to area residents and strengthening the sizeable bicycle touring economy in Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley.
Additional connecting trails such as the Milwaukee Trail and Kim Williams Trail through Missoula make this route all the more regionally significant as well, according to the trail backers.
Missoula County kicked off the study to figure out the safest, most economical, least impacting, and most user-friendly trail to connect these two communities.
Consultant, DJ&A, P.C., has worked with the Missoula County, the Missoula to Lolo Trail Alliance, the City of Missoula, the Montana Department of Transportation, and key landowners to study several routes. As a result, DJ&A has selected three routes for inclusion in the study.
Tuesday's meeting will allow folks to review and discuss the multiple trail route alternatives, and Missoula County's staff and consultants will be available to answer questions and discuss alternatives.
The open house will be held at the Lolo Community Center on U.S. Highway 93 South beginning at 7 p.m. on Jan. 8.