As Missoula grows, one of the directions new residents will be looking is towards the East Missoula area, and there are plans in place to improve the infrastructure on Highway 200 from Van Buren Street to Tamarack Road.

Tara Osendorf is a transportation Planner for the Metropolitan Planning Organization of the City of Missoula.

“The plan will cover Highway 200 from Van Buren Street all the way to Tamarack Road on the other side of Brickyard Hill,” said Osendorf. “That plan will address that corridor in three segments. There’ll be a western segment from Van Buren Street to I-90, an East Missoula segment from I-90 to the Brickyard Hill area and then an eastern segment from Brickyard Hill to Tamarack Road. We’re going that way because we have some transportation and safety concerns along each one of those portions and they all have different characteristics.”

Osendorf said initially the concern was for the area within East Missoula itself.

“One of the problems is access management, especially in those areas in front of the Ole’s Convenience Store,” she said. “There are no curbs or gutters. There’s no sidewalk and there’s no delineation about where cars can come and go, let alone bicyclists or pedestrians, so that’s one of the main concerns about that area. We also have a number of concerns about lighting. When looking at the western segment there are concerns about parking on the north side of the road near the Missoula College. On the eastern segment we’re looking at the most part at recreational access for people who might use the river.”

Osendorf said the plan is to help make the area more attractive and accessible for future development.

“We want to make sure that the area is both safe and attractive to live along and develop and access those businesses along that corridor,” she said. “As we see the more dense development come into the East Missoula area and people are looking for housing, we want to make sure we’re ahead of the game as far as the planning process goes.”

The open house will be Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the East Missoula Fire House at 314 East Missoula Avenue, and the public is invited to attend.