An engineering firm is studying growth projections for Kalispell and future traffic patterns in an effort to better understand how U.S. Highway 93 should be designed in downtown.
Robert Peccia and Associates was hired to study the road couplet around the Flathead County Courthouse and the surrounding area. The firm met with city, county and state officials recently to restart the process, which has been delayed in recent years but is resurfacing.
With the Kalispell bypass slated to be completed next fall, local and state planners are preparing for changes to traffic in the downtown area. Peccia and Associates will analyze growth patterns and projected housing and employment in and around Kalispell through 2040 and present that information to the Kalispell City Council and Flathead County Commissioners.
“It’s a good time to have this discussion,” Kalispell Planning Director Tom Jentz said.
The Montana Department of Transportation has wanted to address the courthouse couplet since the early 1990s, before traffic flow significantly increased through Kalispell and before the U.S. 93 Alternate Route began materializing as an attempt to reduce traffic congestion through downtown. State officials have proposed widening the road to four lanes — two lanes on each side of the courthouse — while county officials have asked for the highway to be reshaped to one side. City officials have expressed concerns that widening the highway to four lanes would only continue to flow large amounts of traffic into downtown and hamper any efforts to transform Main Street into a calmer, more attractive city center.
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