Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Is 'roundabout' in future for Elkhorn intersection?

Express Staff Writer

Although still very iffy, a "roundabout" at the intersection of state Highway 75 and Elkhorn Road is under discussion with nearby property owners and the Idaho Transportation Department as part of the redesign and expansion of the highway.

ITD consultant Diana Atkins, of Utah-based Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, said the intersection would function with or without a roundabout.

A circular roundabout built in the middle of the intersection would eliminate the current traffic signal and, according to boosters of the feature, eliminate traffic delays.

Sun Valley city administrator Virginia Egger said Monday that property owners on the east side of the highway inside Sun Valley city limits have indicated a willingness to discuss the project, which would require acquisition of property.

Atkins said added cost for land acquisition would be significant. She added, however, that the Colorado resorts of Aspen and Vail, as well as Salt Lake City, have a number of roundabouts. Internet Web sites indicate nearly 600 have been built in the United States, with 52 more planned, 48 proposed and six removed.

Sun Valley City Councilman Nils Ribi made the first known mention of a roundabout for the intersection during an ITD open house earlier this year when he was reviewing the overall highway redesign.

Sun Valley will submit a letter to ITD indicating property owner willingness to continuing discussing the project.

Final approval of the $100 million-plus Highway 75 project by the Federal Highway Administration is expected by the end of the year, Atkins said.

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