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City approves roundabout contract on George Elmer; lighting district likely

Members of the Missoula City Council this week approved a $39,000 contract with DJ&A to design the roundabout at George Elmer and Cattle Drive.

A number of transportation projects planned for the greater Mullan area are set to move forward this year, including a roundabout on George Elmer Drive and a signalized intersection on West Broadway.

A Special Lighting Improvement District for the George Elmer corridor is also anticipated.

Members of the Missoula City Council this week approved a $39,000 contract with DJ&A to design the roundabout at George Elmer and Cattle Drive. The project is intended to improve pedestrian safety and access to the growing area of Missoula.

“It’s needed for access control other than the current two-way stop control,” said city engineer Kevin Slovarp. “We’re anticipating that a lot of developments are going to occur in this area that would complicate access. This is going to be a pretty busy street in the future. We also wanted to enhance the safety of pedestrians.”

George Elmer is a key piece of the Mullan BUILD project. Along with Mary Jane Boulevard, it’s one of two streets that will serve as a major collector road, linking both West Broadway and Mullan Road.

The streets also will include roundabouts at their intersection with Mullan Road. Earlier this month, Missoula County secured the right-of-way needed for those two projects, along with a separate roundabout at England Boulevard.

For the Cattle Drive roundabout, Slovarp said funding will come from a number of surrounding subdivisions, including 44 Ranch, Flynn Ranch and McNett Flatts. The city’s portion of the funding will stem from transportation impact fees.

“The money the city brings is for the design while the developers’ portion will cover construction,” Slovarp said. “We hope to put this out to bid, but we need to see how it plays out with the construction of the BUILD grant and other projects in the area. We don’t want to overly complicate traffic movements if there’s other projects ongoing.”

Still, Slovarp said the project could take place this year, adding that lighting improvements are part of the design. To fund that, the city will consider at Special Lighting Improvement District.

A similar district was established roughly six years ago on Hillview Way.

“We’ll propose a special lighting district for George Elmer Drive as a corridor that will include lighting for the [Cattle Drive] intersection,” Slovarp said. “There’s existing lighting out there that we’re hopeful meets the intent for the time being if the roundabout goes in before the lighting does.”

As the Mullan BUILD project picks up steam, the Montana Department of Transportation will also make improvements to the future intersection of Mary Jane and West Broadway.

The work will include a traffic signal, along with traffic restrictions at the current intersection of Flynn Lane and West Broadway.

“That project is moving forward. It’s essentially been designed and is going to be let for contractor bids here real soon,” Slovarp said. “The desire is for that project to be completed this year also.”

The design contract with DJ&A won easy City Council approval.

“The more construction and the more development takes place in this area, this will be an important component of our safety infrastructure,” said council member Mirtha Becerra. “It’s an important piece of that bigger Sx͏ʷtpqyen (Mullan) puzzle.”

Missoula County secures key easements for Mullan Road roundabouts