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Letters to the editor April 20

| April 20, 2023 12:00 AM

Unbiased evaluation warranted

In write in support of Dr. Bonnet’s timely opinion article in Sunday’s Daily Inter Lake (Is the planned hospital merger in our best interest?).

The need is there to get an outside, independent examination from an outside authority with the qualifications to provide an unbiased evaluation for the protection of both hospitals.

— Stephen Olson, past President of Norwest Banks Kalispell, Missoula and Superior

Lakeside coaster on track

This is a rebuttal to Lana Batts letter to the editor. You have a right to your opinion but you do not have the right to your own facts. Stop overwhelming the Montana Department of Transportation staff with false acquisitions, and stop spreading misinformation that you know it’s not true.

Since the beginning of my company working on the Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster there has been so much misinformation put out into the community by a small group of people, who have made it their life mission to destroy the alpine coaster and the Montana family who built it. This is my attempt to straighten out the lies that have been repeated over and over again.

The Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster owners since the beginning have been forthright, they have not held back information, as rumored. The Montana Department of Transportation had been given all the information requested, the permit application had been filled out and completed with the help of the Montana Department of Transportation staff.

Only after the community uproar did the Montana Department of Transportation resent the approved and signed approach permit for the requested 200 vehicles. Since, the owners have reapplied for the exact same permit, but now the Montana Department of Transportation requested further analysis to include a northbound turn lane that was warranted; further analysis for a southbound right turn lane was not warranted.

The Montana Department of Transportation does not pay for impacts generally that are caused by private development, and it is customary that the developer pays for the improvements. The owners of the alpine coaster will bare 100% of the costs to make the highway to be safer in front of their property for all highway users.

During the initially approved application the Montana Department of Transportation had set the location of the new highway approach. This would have generated a third approach near two existing approaches onto Montana Department of Transportation owned property (the gravel pit north of Lakeside on the west side of U.S. 93).

After further discussions between the owners, engineers and the Montana Department of Transportation, a decision was made to combine all three approaches into one and align it with the existing county road access to the east. This makes the approach the safest location and eliminates multiple access onto the highway that is already busy with cross traffic in this area.

As part of the process different geometric plans have been prepared and reviewed by the Montana Department of Transportation. After months of communicating back and forth, we were able to finalize the design. The Montana Department of Transportation staff has put the recommendation in for approval to the Montana Transportation Commission, and on April 20 in Helena the commissioners will make a decision on final approval. Once final approval is received, the owners plan to start construction of the turn lane and final approach per the approved plans right away.

The Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster is planning to open to the public on May 28, 2023.

— Marc A. Liechti represents APEC Engineering in Somers

Trail safety

The Rails to Trails trail west of town is being destroyed by bums. There’s a hobo camp underneath the bridge and they’ve torn down a portion of the fence.

I took a walk there today and a man who was so intoxicated he could hardly walk followed me asking for money. There were four intoxicated people sitting by the side of the road, and four more under the bridge. As a safety precaution, I would recommend people no longer walking on the trail; I’m not going to do it myself.

Also please write a letter to the editor telling of your experiences on this trail. Maybe the city will do something about it.

Have a blessed day.

— Roger Sayre, Kalispell