The Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the City of Kalispell are hosting an open house on Oct. 28 to discuss an intersection improvement project near Woodland Park in Kalispell.
The Woodland Avenue and 2nd Street East/Conrad Drive intersection located at the southwestern corner of Woodland Park has been home to a number of vehicle crashes over the years.
MDT officials conducted an early feasibility study this summer that identified a mini-roundabout as the appropriate form of traffic control at the intersection. The project is intended to reduce the frequency and severity of crashes, accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic and mitigate the steep grade on the east leg of the intersection.
“That’s an area where we’ve identified a lot of crashes over the last 10 years,” MDT Missoula District Manager Bob Vosen said. “It’s a very high number of crashes for that localized intersection.”
A roundabout would force traffic to slow down by creating a mandatory traffic control device in comparison to a stop sign or traffic light, where people must make a conscious effort to obey.
“You can’t run a roundabout and (you) enter at a slower speed,” Vosen said.
MDT Project Design Engineer Jacquelyn Smith says the plan is to keep the roundabout small and inside the right-of-way to keep traffic moving on the east end.
“That’s the tricky part of the intersection,” she said. “There’s a hill leading up to the intersection and the curve.”
Between 2005 and 2015, 52 vehicle crashes occurred at the intersection with one serious injury, one suspected minor injury, six possible injuries and 44 property damage only accidents, according to MDT.
Most crashes are right angle or T-bone collisions, while sideswipe and head-on collisions also occur.
“While a roundabout can’t remove all crashes, it will definitely reduce the severity,” Vosen said.
MDT officials are still collecting and finishing survey data and they do not have a general design for the potential roundabout yet.
The open house will be held on Oct. 28 from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Kalispell City Hall, Council Chambers at 201 First Ave. E. Design team members will be present to answer questions. There will be no formal presentation. The public is encouraged to attend.
Comments may be submitted online at http://www.mdt.mt.gov/mdt/comment_form.shtml or in writing to Montana Department of Transportation, Missoula office at PO Box 7039, Missoula, MT 59807-7039.
Please note that comments are for project CN 9372000.