The work won't happen until next year. But engineers with the Montana Department of Transportation want to hear your concerns and suggestions as they plan a project on one of Western Montana's busiest highways.

The highway in question is on U.S. 93 where it carries all of the traffic to and from the entire Bitterroot Valley into Missoula, a road used by tens of thousands of cars every single day.

Now, MDT is pressing ahead with plans for a major renovation of the road between Lolo and the Southside of Missoula.

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Last time saw major delays

The last time MDT re-surfaced the road nearly a decade ago it took longer than usual. After cool weather moved in early at the end of the construction season, some of the work had to be postponed until the following year. In both instances, there were major backups because of the heavy traffic volumes from commuters on that stretch of Highway 93.

This project will involve more than just re-surfacing

This time, MDT plans to replace the top two layers of asphalt, and then seal the roadway. Crews would also be adding shoulder rumble strips, an important safety feature through the Lolo "S" curves and across the "Flats". They would also add a special "high friction surface treatment", which should help with cars spinning out. Pavement markings and guardrails would also be upgraded and there would be some adjustments to the left-turn lanes in Lolo.

Engineers say the work will extend the life of the highway and make it smoother.

Crews would also pave the "shared use path" along the highway while they're in the area.

The work would extend from just south of Lolo Creek Road, north to near the intersection with Reserve Street in Missoula, a total of 7.5 miles.

Construction is tentatively scheduled for 2024, depending on funding. Right now, MDT is inviting residents to offer their comments and suggestions on the project as final plans are being developed.

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