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Hamilton leaders look for ideas on key intersection improvements

Posted at 5:03 PM, Feb 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-03 19:03:00-05

HAMILTON — You might call it the "crossroads of the Bitterroot".

But the busy intersection at the heart of Hamilton is in need of some attention, and local leaders say your ideas could make the difference.

It's a state intersection that certainly does its job, handling thousands of cars per day, but it's also a junction that Hamilton leaders say could use some improvements.

"The Connect 93 project has really been looking at the intersection of Highway 93 and Main Street. Seeing how we can improve safety for bicycles, pedestrians," said Hamilton City Planner Matthew Rohrbach. "Improve predictability for bikes, [pedestrians] and vehicles, improve traffic flows."

The planning project that started last fall, with government, business and community leaders discussing some of the initial issues with consultants. At its core, it's an attempt to make the intersection of Main and 93 safer, and more functional.

"We're seeing more traffic in downtown, along Highway 93. More commercial development on the east side of Highway 93," Rohrbach explained. "So really just trying to see how can we improve safety and mobility for all modes as they travel through this busy intersection."

The project is not just about safety, but also appearances.

"Yeah, that's certainly a component of this project. Looking at, you know, where are there opportunities we can improve the design and aesthetics of this intersection and working with the Department of Transportation and neighboring property owners to see what opportunities arise there," Rohrbach said. "And really seeing how those design improvements can also contribute to those safety mobility improvements for bikes, peds and vehicles."

Additionally, the city would like to hear any ideas about how to draw more attention to downtown with changes that might be made in this busy intersection.

"You know, when you're coming into Hamilton from the north or the south on Highway 93, making that downtown more visible so people realize, 'hey, Hamilton has this really great downtown and it's right off the main highway'," Rohrbach told MTN News.

He says the goal this week is to target the community's ideas, using that as a the springboard to find money and get the actual changes accomplished.

The latest discussions on the Connect 93 project started with open workshops at Hamilton City Hall Monday afternoon and will take place again on Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The public will have a chance to review all the work during at open house at city hall on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 pm.