Wednesday, January 11, 2012

County wants public input on roads

Open house set for Jan. 25 on new transportation plan


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Blaine County officials want public involvement in development of a transportation plan before the plan is even written.

"Public input is extremely important," said Char Nelson, county operations director. "Any comments we get from the public will be considered."

A public meeting with an open house format is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 25, from 5-7 p.m. at the old Blaine County Courthouse second-floor meeting room. Attendees will be told about the transportation planning process and can comment on what they think the plan should include.

Funding for development of the plan is through a $50,000 federal grant administered by the Idaho Transportation Department. Blaine County has contracted Keller Associates of Boise to develop the plan. Galena Engineering, with offices in Ketchum and Hailey, has been subcontracted by Keller Associates to assist.

Once developed, the plan will address county roads and bridges. It will not include city roads, state or federal highways or U.S. Forest Service or BLM roads, but it will address connections to those systems.

Nelson said Keller and Galena have been gathering preliminary information but need public input before a draft plan is written. She said once written, the draft plan will be subjected to public review and comment.

"I encourage the public to comment," Nelson said. "We care what the public thinks. It's best for the public to comment now, rather than wait until the plan is developed."

Comments can also be made directly to Keller Associates at Bkeller@kellerassociates.com.

In addition to providing a blueprint for future road and bridge development, Nelson said, the plan will also be necessary for obtaining federal or state grants to develop new projects.

Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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