Highway 200 concerns addressed at East Missoula public meeting

(KPAX) On Thursday night the Montana Metropolitan Planning Organization began what will be a long road to improving Highway 200.

At a public open house, community members brought concerns and ideas to the table. Many said Highway 200 and East Missoula are lacking in a number of areas. They said narrow sidewalks, poor lighting and unrestricted parking must be addressed.

“Going through East Missoula there’s no access control, no sidewalks, it’s kind of a free-for-all during certain times of the day, particularly around Ole’s parking lot,” said long time East Missoula Resident Dick Ainsworth. “People come and go willy nilly and don’t pay any attention to where the streets are because they don’t know where they are, and that’s really the problem.”

In the coming months, the MPO will host two more public comment phases. Organizers said the forums will lay the groundwork for what they’re calling the “East Missoula Highway 200 Corridor Plan.”

The project will cover ground from Van Buren Street to Tamarack Road.

Until a design has been completed and cost estimates determined, there’s no official timeline for the project.