Preparations for Pearl Jam, traffic and Tester as Monday concert nears

The countdown to Monday has begun, and all eyes are on Pearl Jam, traffic and Sen. Jon Tester.

Work on the Van Buren interchange in Missoula remains ahead of schedule, but ongoing construction could impact traffic during next week’s Pearl Jam concert, the Montana Department of Transportation said Thursday.

Robert Vosen, the Missoula District construction engineer, said all interchange ramps will be open by Monday off Interstate 90. But work on Van Buren Street will continue and drivers are encouraged to seek alternative routes.

“We are anticipating high vehicle and pedestrian traffic volumes next Monday as folks commute to the Pearl Jam concert at Washington-Grizzly Stadium,” Vosen said. “While all I-90 ramps will be opened, traffic control – including lights and flaggers – will continue to be in place.”

In addition to construction on Van Buren Street, a portion of the I-90 bridge deck has been removed for installation of a sound wall. Westbound traffic will be reduced to one lane, slowing traffic.

“Drivers may still experience delays and should avoid the Van Buren Street interchange if possible to limit these impacts,” Vosen said.

Motorists could also experience delays at other construction sites, including single-lane closures on I-90 near Bonner. That work will be limited to Monday afternoon to lessen the impact on traffic associated with the concert.

Sen. Jon Tester and Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament will also hold a “candid conversation” moderated by Missoula Mayor John Engen at the Wilma Theater on Sunday night. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. Tickets for that event are sold out.

Pearl Jam plays its “Rock2Vote” concert at Washington-Grizzly Stadium on Monday night.

“The band is super excited to come to Missoula and help energize the voters, as we believe it’s a critical time in our democracy,” Ament said in a Rock2Vote statement. “We’ll be doing what we do, supporting the issues we believe in, and we want our fans to join us by participating in the election and coming to a big rock show at Washington-Griz stadium.”