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Missoula County decided this spring to discontinue the dust abatement work that they had been doing on county roads. This was due to budgetary restrictions. Many of those dirt roads are seeing a large increase in car and heavy truck, such as Blue Mountain Road through Deschamps Lane, which people use as the unofficial bypass across town. These roads and many other dirt roads in Missoula County will no longer receive the care that they did last year. The washboarding that occurs soon after grading is dangerous and hard on equipment. One side effect of the dust abatement previously done on this road is relieving the need to grade it for the summer once the surface was sealed. Because of the lack of dust abatement, the road now needs, and is not getting, grading to remove the washboards.
Missoula County has an annual budget of just under 111 million dollars. Under the 2017 budget the county lowered the Public Works Budget by 3 million dollars and increased the Culture and Recreation Budget by 3 million dollars to support expanded spending on the new regional park.
We all have budgetary restrictions. We realize that we must make decisions on where we spend our money. It appears the County Commissioners decided our health, clean air, and safe roads fall somewhere below the need for mega parks and recreation.
Road dust is such a significant part of air pollution that county regulations require all new construction to hard surface roads and parking areas to mitigate dust. The county switched from sand to mag chloride to treat icy roads because the dust impacted our air pollution problem. The current wild fire smoke has already made breathing less than healthy. The road dust aggravates that considerably. The condition of the road adds wear on vehicles and the potential for accidents to the mix.
Please sign this petition if you believe the County Commissioners should reconsider their priorities and put our clean air first!
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