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Letter to editor icon 3

Transportation Commission:

The Corvallis Civic Club would like to express its strong support for Ravalli County’s request to lower the speed limit to 45 mph on the Woodside Cut-Off Road (SR 373) between the town of Corvallis and U.S. Highway 93.

The Civic Club has been concerned for many years about safety along this stretch of road, which connects Corvallis with the west side of the valley.

Our group spearheaded the effort in 2003 to construct a pedestrian/bikepath along SR 373 and has been working for a long time to improve safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles on the narrow Woodside Bridge across the Bitterroot River.

A project to construct a pedestrian span was selected for TA funding in 2014, but remains in limbo. In 2016, another TA funded project was approved that will construct pedestrian activated crossing signals at the point where the bikepath crosses SR 373 in what is now a 60 mph zone. The crossing signals will be installed in 2019.

In our opinion the amount of traffic on SR 373, the number of approaches (26) along the road, the fishing access site at the bridge, the pedestrian/bikepath crosswalk, twice daily school bus traffic, and the frequent presence of wildlife all justify lowering the speed limit from the current 60 mph to a more reasonable 45 mph.

The fact that planned improvements at the Woodside Bridge have been delayed makes lowering the speed limit all the more imperative. In the summer months the fishing access is a popular recreation site for fishermen, boaters, and swimmers and a walking trail onto the Teller Wildlife Refuge begins there. The entrance to the fishing access is steep and there is poor visibility for vehicles entering SR 373, as well as for those traveling the road at 60 mph.

We hope you will consider the safety of the many users of this road, both motorized and non-motorized. We urge you to approve lowering the speed limit to 45 mph on SR 373.

— Tonia Bloom, secretary, Corvallis Civic Club

Others interested in submitting comments can do so by mail: Transportation Commission, P.O. Box 201001, Helena, Mt. 5962001001 or by getting a letter to Ravalli County Commissioner Chris Hoffman, who plans to attend the meeting on Feb. 21 to advocate for Ravalli County's request to lower the speed limit to 45 mph.