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Countermeasures for these issues include speed bumps, curb extensions (i.e., bump outs), signage alerting drivers to children at play and wildlife crossing, construction of a multi-use path for pedestrians and bicyclists, the installation of a roundabout to slow traffic and decrease vehicle noise and pollution, and increased traffic patrols to ensure drivers follow the posted 35 MPH speed limit. None of these countermeasures by itself or in combination will completely eliminate crashes. They will only help to reduce the crash frequency and injury severity. These foreseeable crashes on South Avenue can be prevented by rehabilitating the Maclay Bridge.
One thing is certain: if Maclay Bridge is torn down and replaced with a new two-lane bridge on South Avenue, significant changes to the neighborhood will occur. The rural character so cherished by Target Range residents will be permanently altered as neighbors on South Avenue grapple with increased traffic, noise and danger to their children and pets alike. Residents living near Maclay Bridge, and anglers, floaters and boaters from all over the Missoula Valley, will mourn the loss of an iconic historical landmark that served faithfully as the only crossing over the Bitterroot River in this area for over a century.
MBA urges FHWA, MDT and the Missoula County Commission to look to the TRNP and study the MBA-backed proposals on rehabbing Maclay Bridge before moving forward by approving any environmental document for a new bridge on South Avenue.