A final list of recommendations is still a few months away. But engineers working with the Montana Department of Transportation are getting closer to developing ideas for improving one of the most dangerous stretches of U.S. 93.

While that doesn't mean the ideas can be implemented immediately, it will create a framework for changing the busy U.S. 93 corridor between Missoula and Florence.

And next week, drivers who use the road regularly will get to look over the latest concepts, and offer additional suggestions.

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The Lolo Corridor Study

The "Lolo to Florence Corridor Study was launched in 2022, as MDT decided to re-boot and update some earlier planning efforts, coming in response to a series of major accidents and growing concern over the hazards caused by increasing traffic using the route every day.

The study was expanded a few months later to include the entire stretch of 93 between Missoula and Florence, also including other dangerous spots, like the Lolo "S" Curves. That's where another fatality accident two weeks ago illustrated not only the dangers of the roads but also the limitations, as thousands of cars were completely stopped during the busy morning commute.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo

Time for an update

In February, the last open house reviewed the concepts that have been developed so far, including steps like lower speed limits, wildlife crossing, and using devices to help stop head-on collisions, especially when roads are icy.

Now, MDT and its consultants are inviting people to the next open house, in two sessions, on June 25th. People can attend the first open house in the Common Room at the new Lolo School on Farm Lane from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A second open house will also happen there between 4 and 7 p.m.

Residents check out Lolo Corridor plans during an open house in November; Dennis Bragg photo
Residents check out Lolo Corridor plans during an open house in November; Dennis Bragg photo

Final plans this year

The open houses mark the second of three phases of ironing out recommendations, which would then be used to develop plans and secure construction funding. That's expected to be finished by the end of this year.

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Gallery Credit: Stephanie Gull

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