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Pedestrian wreck on Corvallis bridge concerns residents

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Jun 25 2013 11:01:32 PM MDT
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Community members speak out Tuesday night after an accident sends one young Corvallis man to the hospital.

We travelled to Corvallis, south of Missoula, Tuesday afternoon to speak to community members about what they call ‘an ongoing problem,’ at the Woodside Bridge. 

This comes after a Tuesday afternoon phone conversation with highway patrol troopers who tell us a 16-year-old boy, without a helmet, was crossing the bridge when he turned in front of a Jeep and was struck.

When we arrived at the scene we were able to see the situation for ourselves -- a lack of pedestrian access over the bridge.

Don Contraman has lived in Corvallis for over 18 years and he tells us Woodside Crossing has seen a big boost in traffic over the years.

“There is a conflict between vehicle's traffic on the bridge and the bicyclists and pedestrians,” said Contraman.  “The route is widely used by people walking dogs and a lot of them will walk from here (south side of the bridge) up to Highway 93.”

Right now a bike path leads up to both sides of the bridge, but then comes to a stop just a few yards before you cross.

“There should be a way to encourage both types of development and not have a non-motorized path come up  to a point and just cease,” said Contraman.  “Then you have to go back out on the traffic lane and then start back up again.”

Contraman tells NBC Montana the bridge becomes especially dangerous during the spring and summer when pedestrians are out in numbers and with so many folks crossing the bridge, he thinks it's important the bike path continues across the bridge.

“The idea of starting and stopping, or crossing from one side to the other where it's counterproductive with traffic is not the best thing to do,” he said.

Contraman doesn't want to see anyone else get hurt and hopes to bring awareness to the issue until something is changed.

The 16-year-old who was struck Tuesday morning was taken to a Hamilton hospital and then had to be airlifted to St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula. 

His condition was not released this afternoon.  We called officials Tuesday night and still no word on how he's doing.