Construction leads to congestion on S. 3rd St. West


HAMILTON, Mont. - Drivers are feeling the bumps of reconstruction on one of Missoula's busiest streets. It's making drivers cranky and left businesses worried about lost dollars.

The city tells us 15,000 cars travel the stretch of Third every day. We don't know how many of them have found new routes. But it is congested and it's probably not the best route to take if you are in a hurry.

Driving S. Third can be a challenge.

Cheryl Brewer said it's causing her car to "get all shaky and ruining her tires."

The entrance to the garden center at Marchie's Nursery is blocked off.

"Right now there's no access to it," said Marchie's worker Tracie Pierce. "There's probably a 3-foot drop down to where the curb is."

The nursery has been here for decades, so it has its loyal customers. But finding businesses can be confusing.

Business people are using signs to point alternative routes to their stores.

Chiropractor Dr. Peter Hicks said his business has fallen by 50 percent.

But a worker with Quick Paws, a pet care facility said it's a pain right now, but it's going to be better in a few months.

"It will all be worth it," said Andrew Peacock.

At Catlin and Third there will be an island refuge to shorten crossing distances. There will be tactile warning mats to help visually impaired pedestrians.

"Construction includes the addition of of a center turn lane, bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides," said city construction project manager Doug Harby.

Harby suggests drivers who use Third as a thoroughfare, instead of as a destination point, find an alternative route. That would lessen congestion for drivers who are on Third because they live or shop in the area.

Fifth Street will act as a detour for motorists and pedestrians who want to avoid Third.