Summer visitation leads to traffic congestion

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Residents in Polson have noticed an uptick in traffic, mainly on U.S. Highway 93.

Polson City Streets Superintendent Terry Gembala said Monday afternoon that there are multiple factors contributing to the traffic increase.

“I think it’s just lower gas prices and people are doing more traveling,” he said, providing a couple of those reasons.

According to the Montana Department of Transportation, approximately 13,650 vehicles traveled Highway 93 in 2016, which was an increase from 13,390 in 2015.

Representatives for the Montana State Highway Patrol could not be immediately reached for comment regarding the traffic flow.

Lake County Sheriff Don Bell said that his department has noticed the heavier traffic, and explained that it comes with the summer months.

“It’s this time of the year. We have beautiful mountains and a beautiful lake.”

He added that while the community is grateful for the extra revenue generated for local businesses, there isn’t extra revenue for more staff.

“We just work through it,” he said.

Deputies take alternative routes around town to answer calls in a timely manner, Bell said.

Offering advice for motorists traveling Highway 93, Gembala said, “Just slow down and keep space between you and the person in front of you.”

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