Six Highway 75
rapped by community representatives
Express Staff Writer
to the Idaho Transportation Department last week told a group of city
officials and community leaders from throughout the Wood River Valley
that they are considering at least six design alternatives for a plan to
widen Highway 75.
a two-hour discussion of a tentative list of alternatives and their
individual elements indicated that many in the group thought the options
were generally appropriate, some community activists said the state is
focusing too much on moving cars and not enough on moving people.
ITD consultants from Utah-based Parsons Brinckerhoff, the discussion
last Wednesday in Hailey was part of a series of workshops designed to
let community leaders comment directly on proposed configurations of
Highway 75 that might best serve the public.
meeting followed a well-attended day-long forum held by Parsons
Brinckerhoff Sept. 17 in Hailey to get comments from the general public.
Consultant Diana Atkins at that meeting displayed large-format diagrams
of one alternative that proposes to widen the highway to four traffic
lanes through most of the valley.
last week told the group that project managers are trying to develop a
broad range of alternatives. "There may be four, there may be 20,
there may be six or seven," she said.
draft list of alternatives that Parsons Brinckerhoff will consider for
detailed evaluation in a mandatory environmental-impact study, the
consultants last week identified:
so-called "No-build" alternative, which would propose no new
highway-expansion projects. The National Environmental Policy Act
requires that the "No-build" alternative be considered.
four-lane highway with a center-turn lane through parts of the valley,
with smaller options possible in constrained areas.
four-lane highway with one lane in each direction designated for use
only by high-occupancy vehicles during peak traffic hours, plus a
center-turn lane. The HOV alternative would be modeled in part after a
similar design used to widen Coloradoís Highway 82 through the Roaring
Fork Valley between Aspen and Glenwood Springs.
"enhanced" three-lane highway that includes one traffic lane
in each direction and a center-turn lane. The enhancements would include
eliminating some driveways, installing roundabouts at some
intersections, plus building frontage roads and other adaptations to
increase traffic flow.
"No-build" alternative that would include a significant
increase in bus service, which would run every five to eight minutes
during peak hours, plus installation of park-and-ride lots.
Brinckerhoff traffic engineer Chuck Green told the group that the
alternatives will be advanced as "concepts" for the entire
highway corridor, but Atkins noted that some alternatives might be mixed
and matched in the end.
addition, Green noted, the list includes a sixth alternative designed
for the highway to meet the stateís so-called "Level of Service
C," which is considered an acceptable target on a scale ranging
from A to F that rates traffic flow:
The sixth alternative proposes four continuous traffic lanes from
Gannett Road to McKercher Boulevard in Hailey, six lanes plus a
center-turn lane from Hailey to Serenade Lane in Ketchum, and four lanes
from Serenade Lane to Trail Creek Bridge.
Edelstein, representative of the Citizenís Transportation Coalition,
said she was disappointed the state has not made a greater effort to
include mass transit and carpooling incentives in developing the
am offended that the only way we are looking to get to state policy is
by laying asphalt," Edelstein said.
forth a draft of an additional alternative she wants considered, which
essentially calls for a combination of three-, four- and five-lane
options with significant improvements made to accommodate pedestrians
specifically asked that the highway not be widened between McKercher
Boulevard and Buttercup Road, north of Hailey. "Itís our
equivalent of Reinheimer Ranch in Ketchum," she said.
also noted that she was opposed to a recently approved "Purpose and
Need Statement" released by the Federal Highway Administration,
because the document focuses on moving vehicles, not people.
compatibility of alternatives with the statement will be a key factor
for federal officials in determining which alternative is selected.
the meeting, Edelstein, Citizens for Smart Growth representative Angie
Saunders and other proponents of alternative transportation questioned
why the plans didnít include more provisions for non-motorized and
consultants said the stateóas part of the highway initiativeócould
not forward a plan focused solely on new alternative transit
opportunities because it would be "called into question" by
federal highway officials.
will only include provisions to expand existing public transportation
programs, they said.
Atkins said she would likely add at least one new alternative to the
list based on suggestions made by Edelstein and the group.