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Stephens Avenue commuters will feel a little pain before they realize a gain as the city of Missoula lays down an all-new travel surface for the street.

Beginning on May 20, street crews will start a milling and paving project on Stephens between South Sixth Street West and Mount Avenue. The work is expected to take up to four weeks, but will result in a smooth travel surface without ruts and potholes when it's completed.

Crews will work on one lane at a time on alternating sides of the four-lane street, with the remaining lanes usually staying open to travel. However, short, intermittent detours also should be expected, and traffic will move more slowly than normal.

While Stephens Avenue is a state route, the city is doing the work under a maintenance agreement with the Montana Department of Transportation.

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