Evaro Council Pushes for Lower Speed Limits Due to High Crash Rates
Citizens near Evaro hill north of Missoula are frustrated with the slow speed of action by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT). Right now, MDT is doing a safety study on the stretch of roadway, but the Evaro Community council has been for asking for a speed reduction of 70 m.p.h. to 65 m.p.h. for years. Local resident Peter Kolb says the high speeds have a high cost.
"Four years ago, the Evaro Community Council requested a speed study of the Montana Department of Transportation, with the intent of trying to lower the speed limit a little bit, because just about everybody that lives up there has had some pretty bad experiences where excessive speed almost caused terrible wrecks," Kolb said. "We typically see one to two or maybe more fatalities a year on that stretch."
Kolb says there have been some positive changes, like a wider turn off lane for the school bus, but he points to the number of accidents at a particular intersection to highlight the risks.
"Right where the turnoff to Whispering Pines and the Grey Wolf Casino is, the accident record there is about two and a half times the accident rate for Montana," Kolb said. "We already know that Montana has an exemplary high accident rate compared to the rest of the United States."
According to a 2013 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute, Montana actually has the highest motor vehicle crash death rate in the United States. With a planned expansion of the Grey Wolf Casino, some locals fear the accident rate and the death rate on Evaro hill may go even higher.