Free Cycles’ Executive Director Bob Giordano has been warning of crash risks on US 93 South to Florence since the 1990s.
“It’s not gonna be a surprise,” Giordano warned, “if people lose their life tomorrow, or next week, or next month.”
Now, thanks to a new Montana Department of Transportation study, he might see some fruits of his labor.
Safety data generated by MDT bears out Giordano’s ugly premonition. In a 10-year period starting in 2012, MDT counted 1,118 crashes between Missoula and Florence.
“We’ve definitely heard some concerns,” said Robert Peccia and Associates’ Sarah Nicolai, “about growth and development in the area.”
78% of the 1,118 crashes occurred at a non-junction location, and 54% took place in the winter months. The lack of lighting throughout the corridor played a significant role in many of the incidents, Nicolai noted.
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Left turns onto the highway, navigating curvy portions of the road and wildlife conflicts all contributed major concerns as well. In response, MDT is looking at a variety of possible strategies. Those include turn and acceleration lanes, new signals or signal modifications and roundabouts.
“As part of the next step,” Nicolai said, “we’ll be