MISSOULA – The Montana Department of Transportation is putting the finishing touches on a two-year project that improved accessibility in the garden city.

Forty-six intersections on Orange Street, Stephens Avenue, Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Broadway and Higgins Avenue have been made accessible with new features like larger landing areas, gentler grades and reflective flashing beacons. Over 300 sidewalk ramps were upgraded to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

The Missoula ADA project cost $3.2 million and was funded through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program. No local taxes were levied to pay for the revisions. A total of 49,000 square feet of sidewalk and 9,500 linear feet of curb were improved as part of the project.

However, Missoula’s improvements are just part of a statewide mission.

“Across Montana, we’re working to provide equal access for everyone to be able to get to work, to school, to medical appointments, and to things like community events through ADA improvements. Our entire community benefits when we remove access barriers for our friends and neighbors,” said Bob Vosen, MDT acting district administrator.

Over 40 cities across Montana have already started or are planning to undergo accessibility improvements as part of the plan. In Missoula, the street corners that were updated were driven by public need and comment.

“Partnership with the community was important for the Missoula ADA project,” said Vosen. “We met with several interested parties before we started designing this project. Those folks told us where the improvements were most needed as they related to routes where the department could take action. These improvements were crucial steps towards better access for all across the city.”

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