MISSOULA – Some traffic changes will ring in 2019 in one part of Missoula.
Beginning on January 2, folks will see a change at the Lower Miller Creek Road and Linda Vista Boulevard intersection in hopes of improving traffic flow and safety in the area.
Drivers westbound on Lower Miller Creek currently don’t have stop signs, while drivers eastbound have a stop sign and northbound drivers on Linda Vista have a free right turn and a stop sign for left turns. Linda Vista drivers will now have a stop sign at the intersection while drivers eastbound on Lower Miller Creek will no longer have to stop.
City of Missoula spokeswoman Ginny Merriam says the changes mean that drivers westbound on Lower Miller Creek will have to pay special attention before making a left turn onto Linda Vista, and Linda Vista drivers will have to remember to stop before turning either direction.
The opening of the new Jeanette Rankin Elementary School has brought more traffic into the area, prompting the changes. Several advance warning signs and a message board will alert drivers to the new traffic pattern.
Merriam says that city traffic specialists estimated that the intersection would not see those patterns until buildout of the Miller Creek subdivisions. However, the school has brought more traffic on the eastbound leg, bringing the intersection to the traffic thresholds that warrant the changes.
“While neighbors and visitors to the area get used to the change, we advise extra caution. Despite potential near-term confusion, we believe the reconfiguration is the right thing to do for long-term safety and vehicle flow,” said City of Missoula Bicycle/Pedestrian Program Manager Ben Weiss, who is also a traffic specialist for the City. “As with any change, we will continue to monitor how it is functioning, and we welcome feedback.”