preview of initial Highway 75 document
Process to refine
designs moves into next phase
Express Staff Writer
officials and highway activists were given a look Thursday at an annotated
outline draft of the purpose and need statement for the future development
of Highway 75 in the Wood River Valley.
was presented by Diana Atkins, the project manager for the National
Environmental Policy Act process. Her firm, Parsons Brinckerhoff, is
overseeing the process for the Idaho Transportation Department.
and need statement is the second step in the NEPA process. The first was
the scoping and issue identification step, which began last October and
was recently completed.
the Wood River Regional Transportation Committee on Feb. 28 that the
purpose and need statement is where "we’re about to get real"
about what to do with the highway.
that the purpose and need statement is intended to justify to the Federal
Highway Administration why federal funds should be allocated to improving
people in Washington know nothing about the Wood River Valley," she
will be an evolving document, but it will evolve into a public
document," she said.
exercise for this community is to take the draft and ask questions and add
suggestions. It deserves thought," she said.
want anyone to get the impression this is the final anything. It is
not," she said.
is available from the transportation committee, which is chaired by
Ketchum City Councilman Randy Hall.
Mayor Ed Simon asked Atkins when she wanted resolutions from the different
referring to the legislation section of the statement, which includes
"official letters and resolutions submitted by the cities in the
she would like to see resolutions as soon as possible, especially those
"that anticipate a change in what the communities may be doing."
the reason the resolutions were important to the purpose and need
statement is that they "provide feedback to the FHWA."
a comfort factor for them," she said. "They are not required,
but they are helpful."
purpose and need statement is about identifying problems, the next step in
the NEPA process, the definition of alternatives, is about solutions.
the committee that one of the things that happens in the definition of
alternatives is something called design level mapping.
are drawn that show things like highway shoulders, numbers of lanes, and
facilities for pedestrians, bicyclists and commuters.
hope to have lines on the map by the end of June," Atkins said.
member Mickey Garcia told Atkins that the NEPA process so far had not
included input from a large group of highway users.
taxi drivers, garbage truck drivers, people who haul freight, construction
workers and people making deliveries.
Hall said he had begun reaching out to contractors and construction
workers by contacting David Hennessy, a member of a local contractors
she would contact the rubbish disposal companies, contractors and those
who haul freight.
brought another document relating to the NEPA process to the committee’s
attention, the "SH-75 Corridor 2025 Population and Employment
population and employment forecasts will be used in the NEPA process to
help determine how many daily trips will burden the highway by the year
that she would be providing "better and fuller definitions of the
assumptions" that went into these forecasts for those reviewing the
highway work group meeting facilitated by Atkins will be March 19. These
meetings are open to the public, but public comment is only taken after
conclusion of the committee’s agenda.
meeting of the Wood River Regional Transportation Committee is March 28.
are interested in talking with their committee representatives can reach
Randy Hall through Ketchum City Hall.