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Decision approaches on intersection near Smith Valley School

Posted at 4:04 PM, Feb 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-23 18:04:55-05

MISSOULA — The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) is getting close to a final decision on an alternative for a dangerous intersection in front of Kalispell’s Smith Valley School.

More than 2,000 vehicles travel on the Batavia Lane on US Highway 2 West Intersection each day where the current speed limit is 45 mph.

MDT officials have deemed the intersection in front of Kalispell’s Smith Valley School to be at high-risk for severe crashes.

MDT District Administrator Bob Vosen says they’re down to two intersection alternatives with a hope of a final decision by March or April.

The final alternatives include a traffic signal with raised medians and a single lane roundabout.

“We’ve been narrowing it down from when we came into it originally with 13 or 14 different concepts, we’ve got it narrowed down to two concepts right now, final decision hasn’t been made yet,” Vosen told MTN News.

Since pedestrian safety is a major concern, Vosen says MDT officials recently installed rapid flashing beacons at the intersection’s crosswalk as an immediate short-term fix.

“Just improves the visibility and draws [the] attention of the drivers to the fact that there are pedestrians waiting to cross the road,” Vosen said.

MDT officials says it’s too early at this time to anticipate when construction on the project may begin.

The Montana Department of Transportation held virtual open houses with residents discussing alternatives for the dangerous intersection last fall.