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Project to widen Mullan Road to three lanes nears; Mary Jane extension to the north

A stretch of Mullan Road between George Elmer Drive and Josephine Avenue will be widened to three lanes as work to create a new intersection at Chuck Wagon Drive (pictured right) begins. (Google Earth)

With spring approaching and the construction season with it, city and county planners are looking to get started on elements of the Mullan BUILD project – a job that’s been on the books now for several years.

Members of the Missoula City Council last week approved a $45,000 service agreement with WGM Group to design the intersection of Chuck Wagon Drive at Mullan Road as work to add a two-way center turn lane nears.

“Folks can get into the two-way center turn lane, out of the driving lane, to make turns to the driveways on the south side of Mullan Road and for traffic coming from the west to make a left turn on Chuck Wagon Drive,” said city engineer Kevin Slovarp. “That’s the reason for the project.”

That portion of the project will stretch from George Elmer Drive to Josephine Avenue. The city and county received a $13 million federal grant several years ago to fund a portion of the work, and a roundabout is planned at the intersection of George Elmer and Mullan Road.

Slovarp said it made sense to widen Mullan from George Elmer to Josephine Avenue to three lanes to keep the traffic pattern consistent in that area.

“It’s one thing leads to another, and we’ve been moving ahead,” Slovarp said. “We’re looking to finalize that design in order to move the project into the bidding and construction phase here relatively soon.”

Missoula County last week also approved a construction easement with a property owner as work is set to begin on extending Mary Jane Boulevard to the north to West Broadway.

The project also is covered by the federal grant, though the construction easement won’t cost the county anything, as the project also benefits the property owner.

“This infrastructure is being built at no cost to them,” said Shane Stack, director of Public Works for the county. “If this property had been built through the subdivision process, not only would they have had to provide the right of way, but they also would have to provide the infrastructure. It’s a benefit for them to provide that right of way so we can construct the project.”