This could come as welcome news for any of the thousands of people who found themselves in long lines during the holiday shipping season at the main Missoula post office.

Many customers were forced to jostle for positions as the U.S. Postal Service was slammed with business, compounded by people who were expecting online deliveries, only to miss their carrier and have to go to the post office for pickup.

Now, USPS is earmarking the Missoula Processing and Distribution Center as one of the facilities across the country to be reviewed for possible upgrades as part of the agency's plan to spend $ 40 billion in the coming years to improve service.

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Should some mail processing be shifted to Spokane?

The most notable idea in the study announced Thursday would be "transferring some mail processing operations" currently handled in Missoula to the Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in Spokane.

The agency notes a "significant percentage of the mail" collected in Missoula will travel across the USPS processing network. The thinking is that mail and packages destined for delivery outside the Missoula area "may receive better service and be "more cost-effectively distributed" by combining it with similar packages heading to the same destinations.

Dennis Bragg photo
Dennis Bragg photo
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No impact on Missoula post office jobs

USPS is stressing the moderation move wouldn't result in the closure of the Missoula P&DC, or a loss of jobs. The agency also says there won't be any impacts on business mail, Post Office, or branch of delivery services while the study is underway.

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Upgrades outside of mail changes

USPS says the Missoula facility would see some upgrades regardless of any decision to transfer mail processing out of town. And if some mail processing moved to Spokane, the Missoula facility would be "modernized and repurposed" as a Local Processing Center.

And the agency is promising to involve the public and its unions in the review

If you'd like to comment on the study, here's the link to the online survey.

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Gallery Credit: Ashley Warren

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