Roundabouts seen as most efficient way to rebuild Van Buren interchange

Posted at 4:55 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 18:55:57-04

MISSOULA – Engineers with the Montana Department of Transportation say the installation of more roundabouts coming off Interstate 90 will make for more efficient traffic flow on one of Missoula’s busiest routes.

The installation of the twin roundabouts at the Van Buren interchange is the second phase of a major project to rework two of the four Missoula interchanges. And as with Orange Street installed last year, engineers believe roundabouts are the best way to create efficient traffic flow, especially with all the traffic coming and going out of the Rattlesnake. 

“The big feature is that at the bottom of the ramps on both sides of the Interstate we’re going to put a roundabout at each location," said MDT District Engineer Ed Toavs. "And the reason for roundabouts is when we did modeling for both signalization and roundabouts, at peak traffic there wasn’t a lot of difference. But there was a lot of difference at non-peak hours. The roundabouts operated in a superior manner, less delay, ease of flow.”

Initial work on the Van Buren project is starting next week. On Tuesday, MDT engineers will host a public open house so people can see the latest designs and ask questions about the project, which is targeted to be mostly completed by this fall.

That open house will be April 17 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Missoula Children’s Theater.