Transportation plan update on city docket

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Cars drive along U.S. Highway 93. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

Itís no secret that at certain times of the day or certain times of the year, traffic in Whitefish can be challenging.

The City of Whitefish is looking to update its transportation plan to project future improvements out to the year 2030. The current plan was created in 2009.

Public Works Director Craig Workman said the plan update is expected to prioritize goals and objectives to improve transportation into the future and provide policies and tasks to achieve those objectives.

ďIt has become apparent that parts of the cityís transportation system are over capacity during the peak season and alternative routes of travel and modes of transportation are needed,Ē Workman said. ďAlso an update to the 2009 transportation plan is needed to assist city staff in coordinating proposed projects with the planned future transportation grid.Ē

The planning process is expected to engage the public to identify and evaluate transportation conditions and alternate modes such as biking, walking and public transit. Work on the plan is also expected to include an evaluation of the existing transportation conditions.

The plan is expected to also evaluate projects to complete the network and fill the needs of users.

The current transportation plan was adopted by Council in February of 2010 and has guided decisions about the transportation system. Several other plans related to the transportation plan have been completed since.

Increased residential growth along with several new hotels and condominium vacation complexes are impacting the cityís transportation system.

Traffic on U.S. Highway 93 has increased significantly during the last 10 years and annual average daily traffic is nearly 25,000 vehicles per day, according to the city Public Works Department.

There is need for roads paralleling Highway 93 through the extension of Baker Avenue and Whitefish Avenue, the city notes, in addition, the Wisconsin Corridor Plan pointed out the need for future improvements to that road.

City Council last week approved a selection panel to recommend an engineering firm to update the plan. The city in January received two proposals for the project from Robert Peccia and Associates and from KLJ.

Council will still vote on a contract to select a firm for the project.

The city has $50,000 budgeted in fiscal year 2020 for the update to the transportation plan.

Work on the project may last into fiscal year 2021, but that will be evaluated once the engineering firm begins work on the plan.

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