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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 26 - July 2, 2002


Ketchum holds problems for Highway 75 expansion

Express Staff Writer

A four-lane highway between Elkhorn Road and Ketchum will be very difficult to build, despite a public outcry for four lanes extending from Timmerman Junction, at the intersection of Highway 75 and U.S. 20, to Ketchum.

At a town hall meeting June 19, Highway 75 planning consultant Diana Atkins said the narrow and short corridor between McHanville and Ketchum may pose too many problems to overcome to build four lanes.

"One of the realities is that right-of-way is very limited and expensive," she said. "There isn’t much right-of-way at Reinheimer (Ranch), and that will pretty much keep it as is. We’re not suggesting many changes through the Reinheimer area."

Federal laws intended to preserve historic properties protect Reinheimer Ranch, Atkins said.

It will be possible to install an additional lane or sidewalks in the stretch, "but we will not be able to consistently get two additional lanes," Atkins said.

"So we’re going to need some help from the city of Ketchum trying to figure out what’s going to work," she said.

The bridge at Trail Creek will be another of the focal points in the northern corridor, Atkins said.

"It could be four lanes, but does it make sense to do so with the narrow right-of-way at Reinheimer?" she asked. "If you can only achieve at best three lanes through Reinheimer, what does that mean for Trail Creek?"

The Idaho Transportation Department recently unveiled design alternatives for the entire Highway 75 corridor.

Plans show options for improvements, scheduled to begin in 2007, on a 27-mile section of highway. About 130 people attended an open house June 12 at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey.

Tentative plans show a two-lane highway from the U.S. Highway 20 intersection at Timmerman Junction to Bellevue, as well as for the short section from Elkhorn Road north into Ketchum.

"Nothing on this project is simple," Atkins said.

ITD and Atkins will host another open house meeting in Ketchum on July 16 at the Kentwood Lodge. That meeting, which should run from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will include more up-to-date work on the portion from Elkhorn Road to Ketchum, Atkins said.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.