Trick or treat?
Will a new highway in the valley be a trick, or a treat?
The only way to make sure its a treat is to go to an open house
to be held at the Wood River Middle School in Hailey from 4 to 8 p.m. tomorrow.
This will be the third and final Highway 75 Corridor Study meeting. The
Idaho Transportation Department and consulting firm CH2M Hill will attempt to answer
questions and address concerns of Wood River Valley residents.
The open house is part of the process being used by the ITD to create a
new highway design for the Wood River Valley.
At the meeting, residents will see retouched photographs showing how a
preferred design would look if built. They will be able to review traffic projections.
They will be asked to record their comments and concerns about the preferred design.
We have high hopes for the open house.
For the first time, we hope to see accurate and detailed views of
highway plans. We also hope to see accurate representations of the total width of the
highway relative to its existing path, along with shoulders and clear zones.
We hope to see how the preferred design works with the already approved
stretch of highway.
The consulting firm says it will incorporate comments from the meeting
in its final report to the ITD. It says the final study will be released only to the ITD
and to the Blaine County Highway 75 Steering Committee, which may use the study as they
We hope they see fit to hold public hearings on the final report before
graders and pavers are invited in. We hope somebody will finally discuss the reasons
alternative forms of transportation are not options.
The members of the steering committee, which has advised the consulting
company during the process, are ITD senior planner Bob Humphrey, Blaine County
Commissioner Len Harlig, Ketchum City Councilwoman Sue Noel, and Bellevue Mayor Steve
Fairbrother. Hailey has not had a representative on the committee since city administrator
Darryl James left his job. Since January, the committee has met three times in private
meetings with the consulting firm.
Residents need to participate in highway planning meetings like this
one to make sure they dont wake up one morning to find the valley disfigured by a
poorly planned and executed freeway. Doubling and tripling the size of the existing
highway, installing a total of 21 stoplights, and changing traffic flow on Main
Streetsall proposed--will affect the quality of life up and down the valley.
When it comes to the highway, nothing should be left to the
imagination. Nothing should be decided in private. Nothing should be a surprise.