Tuesday, September 29, 2020

County OKs Rose Crossing curve fix

Daily Inter Lake | September 4, 2020 12:00 AM

The Flathead County commissioners voted last week to approve a safety improvement project that will adjust a 90-degree turn on Rose Crossing in Kalispell that has been a source of citizen frustration for several years.

Traffic along Rose Crossing has increased in recent years as drivers seek an alternative to West Reserve Drive for traveling between U.S. 93 and U.S. 2. The road includes one sharp 90-degree curve near Rose Bud Lane that has been the cause of numerous vehicular accidents throughout the years, particularly in the winter months when the road is icy.

Debbie Street, a Kalispell resident who lives near the corner, started pushing for a solution to increased traffic on the road in 2018 by first bringing her concerns to the Kalispell City Council and then later to the county commissioners. Street, who personally hired an engineering firm to look into traffic safety concerns on Rose Crossing, has long referred to the troublesome corner as “a public safety issue.”

On Aug. 25, Ryan Mitchell with Robert and Peccia Associates presented a road remodel that is expected to solve that problem.

According to Mitchell, the engineering firm looked at several options for reconstructing the sharp turn into more of an elongated curve that is able to appropriately handle speeds ranging from 30 to 45 mph.

These options were then presented to nearby property owners, considering the county would have to obtain additional land in order to make the project a reality.

One family that owns a parcel to the south of the corner agreed to grant the county a land easement large enough for the engineers to construct a turn that will have a 250-foot radius with a 30 mph speed limit. The rate, which is 5 mph below the posted speed limit on Rose Crossing, was OK’d by the commissioners.

The family also requested a berm be erected along the turn as a way to further divide the road and traffic from the rest of their property. The berm will also signal to drivers, particularly those traveling at night, that they are approaching a curve and should slow down, Mitchell said.

The original piece of road that will no longer be used will be kept in the county right of way. Construction on the project, which will be funded by Montana’s Bridge and Road Safety and Accountability Act, is expected to begin in the spring of 2021.

The commissioners thanked the families in the area who agreed to give what they could to the project.

“Those on the north and west side initially were pretty nervous about this, but they were willing to come to the table,” Commissioner Randy Brodehl said. “The Thompson family [the family to the south of the turn] certainly stepped up and said they would do what they could.”

Reporter Kianna Gardner can be reached at 768-4407 or kgardner@dailyinterlake.com