Drivers can expect to experience some delays along U.S. Highway 2 later this month as the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) begins to look at ways to fix a dangerous intersection west of Kalispell.
Starting Oct. 22, MDT crews will be taking soil samples at the intersection of Dern Road, Springcrek Road and U.S. Highway 2. The soil samples will help engineers determine how solid the ground is and will be helpful in designing a new intersection. During the soil-sampling project, which is expected to run until Nov. 2, drivers can expect delays with traffic going down to a single lane.
The Dern and Springcreek intersection has been the site of nearly 50 automobile accidents in 11 years, according to MDT officials. A quarter of those accidents have resulted in serious injury or death.
In 2016, MDT and engineers from Robert Peccia & Associates presented two alternatives to rebuild the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Springcreek and Dern roads. One alternative called for the installation of a traffic light and the other called for the construction of a roundabout. Bob Vosen, MDT’s Missoula District construction engineer, said at this time a roundabout is the preferred option. MDT considered a dozen alternatives.
“All of our traffic and safety data suggests that a roundabout would be the best option for that stretch of highway,” he said.
MDT is still in the design phase of the project and in the coming months will be seeking public input on how the intersection will be rebuilt. Vosen said the earliest construction would begin is 2020.