Residents concerned about dangerous Kalispell intersection
KALISPELL, Mont. - Residents are raising concerns over one of the most dangerous intersections in Kalispell. They want something to be done.
They're concerned about the intersection of Highway 2 and Springcreek and Dern roads, just west of Kalispell.
The combination of fast cars and blind spots causes a lot of accidents, including fatalities.
NBC Montana looked into why this intersection is so dangerous and found out what transportation officials are doing about it.
"It's just a dangerous spot," said Kalispell resident John Weaver.
Weaver has lived near the intersection for 22 years and he always knew it wasn't safe.
"I've heard crashes and gone to see and there have been some pretty bad ones there," Weaver said.
Cars headed east and westbound drive fast. There are curves and a steep incline.
The speed limit used to be 70 but was changed a while ago to 60 miles per hour. According to Montana Highway Patrol, the change only helped a little.
The biggest issue is that drivers can't see oncoming traffic until the last minute.
"I think the primary problem is we have an increased amount of traffic and just limited visibility," said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper David Mills.
NBC Montana witnessed it firsthand. If a car is turning from Springcreek Road onto the highway, it's hard to see when a car is coming. That is how most accidents happen.
"We do see, unfortunately, fatal accidents here," said Mills.
Mills told NBC Montana that just last week there was an accident. Someone wanted to turn right off of Highway 2. The car behind it didn't stop in time, causing a rollover accident. The driver walked away with minor injuries.
Accidents happen often. That's why residents think something needs to be done.
"I would like to see something done. Like maybe a flashing red light, or a light that flashes off and on so people would have to stop," Weaver said.
Other residents agree. They say it's like taking your life into your hands when you want to go somewhere.
NBC Montana found out that the Montana Department of Transportation has a plan in place to make the road safer.
They want to put up flashing signs along the highway, that alert drivers of the intersection ahead, or to alert them of the possibility of cars turning left and right up ahead.
MDT says there is even the possibility of putting in turning lanes. That project could cost between $2 million and $3 million. Residents feel the sooner it happens, the better.