Crews will construct new roundabout on Missoula's west side
Missoula's west side is getting a new roundabout at a busy and often confusing intersection.
Construction starts Tuesday on the Scott, Toole, Spruce urban mini roundabout.
The $320,000 project will take four to six weeks.
"It's a roundabout that's designed to be in confined spaces," said construction project engineer, Doug Harby,"where we don't have the right of way to put a full round about in."
Engineers said it will ease congestion and slice wait times for drivers turning left.
Drivers get frustrated.
West side resident Bob Irwin wants a roundabout.
He gestured to the stop sign at Scott Street and said sitting there for more than a minute when you're so close to downtown you could walk there faster."
City engineering staff considered a traffic signal, but decided a roundabout would save fuel and reduce air pollution.
"Reduce the idling and stopping," said Harby,"and to allow better merging of traffic."
A couple drivers who live and work in the area we talked to, said they didn't think the wait time was that bad.
"It could help but I'm not sure it's worth the investment," said Mike Mallory.
The roundabout will be high enough to keep cars on the roundabout path, but low enough to help large vehicles maneuver.
"If they can't make the corner," said Harby,"such as trucks and buses.
The city said the roundabout may not reduce the number of accidents.
But Harby said it could significantly reduce the severity because people will be driving slower.