MDT to Host Open House on Roundabout Proposal at Woodland Avenue and Conrad Drive Intersection in Kalispell

The single-lane roundabout would replace the “confusing” intersection that currently has three stop signs; MDT will host open houses on March 14 and March 19

By Maggie Dresser
The Conrad Drive and Woodland Avenue intersection in Kalispell on March 8, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon

Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) officials will host two open houses this month to educate the public about a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Woodland Avenue and Second Street East/Conrad Drive.

A virtual open house will be held on March 13 from noon to 1 p.m. via Zoom and an in-person open house will be held on Tuesday, March 19 from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Kalispell City Hall.

In addition to a single lane roundabout, MDT is also proposing improved pedestrian and cyclist crossings. Construction is tentatively planned for 2026, depending on completion design and availability of funds. The project will handle traffic volumes for the next 20 years without additional investments, according to project managers.

Officials with MDT and the City of Kalispell chose the roundabout to enhance safety, improve sight distances, reduce the number of conflict points and reduce speeds through the intersection. It also improves crossings for pedestrians and cyclists and provides more space for large vehicles.

The project was originally introduced at an open house in 2019 where members of the public provided mixed feedback about the project, with some “very opposed” and others “open to the possibility.”

The current intersection has three stop signs while westbound traffic has the right of way and does not stop. Concerns include westbound traffic traveling up the hill on Conrad Drive during the winter, speeding and blind spots at the intersection.

Community members also said the traffic pattern is confusing and drivers don’t expect the westbound traffic to continue through the intersection without stopping.

While some residents were concerned about stopping on the sloped grade at the intersection when road conditions are icy, officials say the proposed plan includes minor flattening of the Conrad intersection. Many communities in Alaska and other Montana cities have successfully installed roundabouts on slopes with similar grades, officials said.

To attend the virtual webinar on Tuesday, March 13 at noon, visit the project website at https://www.mdt.mt.gov/pubinvolve/woodland/ for the meeting link.

The in-person open house will be held on Tuesday, March 19, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Kalispell City Hall at 201 First Ave. E.