ITDís breach of
instead of five lanes for the East Fork intersection of the Greenhorn
Gulch highway project wonít fly, the Blaine County Transportation
Advisory Committee told the Idaho Transportation Department last week.
Seven lanes? What
without discussion, the ITD had apparently seen fit to paste two
right-turn lanes on to the five-lane expansion.
It was a breach of
All of a sudden,
the project had gone from 73 feet of asphalt to 96 feet. Without
fanfare, without discussion, without general public knowledge.
Every foot of the
expansion, which is under construction, had been publicly dissected and
debated for two years before construction began.
The ITD issued
press release after press release that outlined the specifics of the
the project kicked off public debate over the size of the bridge
expansion, environmental impacts and the larger issue of improvements to
State Highway 75 from Timmerman Hill to Ketchum.
The Ketchum City
Council got involved and consulted with its own highway engineers.
Citizens formed a transportation coalition that brought in nationally
recognized highway consultants who presented their advice. Public
meetings were held.
officials worked hard to restore trust between the public and the ITD,
trust that had been shattered by a freeway proposal for the valley in
By the time the
Greenhorn widening project got underway this spring, it seemed it was
well understood by the public.
someday some faceless ITD engineer decided to change the plan and add 24
more feet of asphalt to the narrow valley floor. Whatís worse, the ITD
is now trying to portray the original publicly vetted plan as a
reduction of the original plan.
Transportation Advisory Committee woke up to the ballooning highway and
the fact that it violated the painstakingly woven public trust, it
rightly recommended that the ITD stick to its original plan.
We wonder what ITD
was going to tell the public when seven lanes instead of five lanes were
Does the ITD
really think the Idaho education system is so poor that citizens canít
count? Does it believe that government of the people by the people
suddenly morphed into government by engineers for engineers?
Does it really
believe members of the public are so foolish it can convince them that
seven lanes is what was planned and discussed all along?
Will its next act
be to try to sell us the new bridge the public has already paid for?
Trust is a two-way
street. Itís a shame the ITD tried to make it a one-way dead end.