It's one of the area's busiest highways. But also one of the most dangerous. And the Montana Department of Transportation is hoping you have ideas to help them fix the situation. 

Next week, consulting engineers will begin collecting that input as they launch into the public phase of developing what's known as the Lolo to Florence Corridor Plan. 

The plan is an attempt to address the stretch of Highway 93 between Florence and Lolo, where high speeds and a growing amount of traffic have led to some very serious, and often fatal accidents in recent years. 

Growing traffic volumes present challenges

The problem is compounded by the number of side roads where drivers are trying to enter or cross, the flow of traffic, and the lack of a certain median or divider to separate the traffic from head-on collisions. 

Next Tuesday, MDT and Robert Peccia and Associates are inviting people to attend an open house to answer questions about the study. That's scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 pm at the Lower Gym at Lolo School. There will also be a virtual event via Zoom at noon on Tuesday. People can register for that meeting online. 

MDT District 1 Administrator, Bob Vosen said, “this corridor is experiencing many challenges, and we hope to address them starting with this study.”

The state expects it will take about a year to conduct the study and come up with some possible alternatives. However, funding any improvements will also present some challenges at a time when MDT is facing a backlog of critical highway projects across the state. Engineers believe having plans in place could help in securing funding quicker if money becomes available. 

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