By John Fuller
U.S. Highway 93, like many other federally funded interstate highways, travels the length of the country.
It is a vital artery for many communities and traffic congestion in city centers along its length often becomes burdensome. Bypasses around such centers are normally desirable for through travelers and long-haul truckers.
The southern half of the Highway 93 Kalispell bypass reminds this writer of what has been said about the camel. It is an ungainly creature, slow of foot, cranky of temperament and of doubtful utility.
It has numerous tight radius traffic circles instead of exits and a pedestrian speed limit. It offers little savings of time for its increased distance through town.
For the last several election cycles, Sen. Max Baucus was always front and center in announcing the federal funding for Highway 93 projects.
When the north half of the Kalispell bypass is complete, Max will be retired. There is symmetry here.
Both have taken a long time to reach the finish line, both have cost the taxpayers a bundle of money, and both are about as useful as a camel in Montana.
Unfortunately, while Max rides off into the sunset, travelers going around Kalispell will still have trouble outrunning a camel.
By Joe Carbonari
On completion the Kalispell bypass will eliminate about 18 stoplights, making the the north-south trip both faster, safer and a lot more pleasant.
For those living on or traveling to and from the west side of town it is already proving to be a real boon. And even now, for north-south travel it saves time and stress.
As traffic continues to build, especially during the summer months, this will become increasingly the case. This is no time to begin questioning, as one statewide official is, its value or its necessity;
For all our Montana travelers, be they local or out of state, the benefits are clear.
It is our job, be we city or county officials, local business men and women, or simply informed and concerned citizens, to get behind the effort as necessary to save our funding, and to support the project to its end.
There is a commission meeting in Helena scheduled for Sept. 26. Public support, and attendance, will be very important.
Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have made their strong, continuing support clear.
We must do the same. Speak out, speak up and be heard. Together, let’s get the job done.
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