The citizens of East Missoula are tapping into a private grant from an initiative called New Mobility West from the Sonoran Institute, that has awarded East Missoula, Cascade, Idaho as well as Durango and Grand Junction, Colorado access to free technical assistance.

"We submitted an application to them back in December, and they accepted it," explained East Missoula community council chair Dick Ainsworth. "I think they are issuing four grants and we are the only one in Montana. They are going to get started doing some planning work on the Highway 200 corridor that runs through east Missoula, not only from a transportation perspective, but also from a land-use perspective."

Ainsworth says highway 200 has long been a concern, but that the announced location of Missoula college makes the dangers of that roadway even more urgent.

"It's a state highway that runs right through the middle of town," Ainsworth said. "It's pretty dangerous because there is uncontrolled access. There's no curbs or gutters the streets that are platted there were platted back in the early 1900's hit at an angle, so there are all kinds of strange intersections... you know... sometimes you don't know if you're driving on a parking lot or a street."

A conference call with New Mobility West will occur tomorrow, January, 23, and the specialist who is hired to help plan around Highway 200 will likely be put to work by the end of February, with planning work wrapped-up by summer.