Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - If you're driving through the Mission Valley this spring and summer, you'll need to allow some extra time, as construction is finally getting underway on the project to ease traffic congestion through Ronan.

The "Ronan North" project is the first step in completing what will be called the "Ronan Urban Project", a long-range plan to turn Highway 93 into a one-way couplet to ease the summer traffic impacts through the town.

Montana Department of Transportation says Work is now underway on "Ronan North", which extends from just beyond Spring Creek Road on the north to Round Butte Road on the south.

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Construction will be done in 3 phases

The project, which extends for 1.5 miles is starting with the widening of the west half of the road to include two southbound lanes. Riverside Contracting will also be placing gravel and a new storm drain.

Then, once that side is complete, crews will do the same thing on the east side of the road.

“MDT is excited to complete this important project that will increase the highway's efficiency for the region’s community. We understand that construction can be disruptive and encourage residents to stay informed and reach out with any questions or concerns.” -Bob Vosen, MDT Missoula District Administrator, said.

Plans are for traffic to continue to use the current highway, and then move over to the new lanes when they're finished. So MDT is expecting traffic disruption to be "minimal." However, there will be reduced speeds, and occasional delays to allow for construction equipment to move.

The work is expected to last through the summer, and be complete this fall.

MDT map
MDT map

Eventual tie-in with "Ronan Urban"

The new road is designed to work with the eventual completion of the second half of the expansion, which would carry the traffic through Ronan itself. But those concepts are still being worked out. MDT has said that will also be an expensive project because of the amount of right-of-way that might be needed.

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