Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Highway 75 speed reduction is just a Band Aid

    I recently read Blaine County is considering a nighttime speed reduction between McKercher and Zinc Spur Road to reduce the number of wildlife collisions. This is a cost-efficient proposal to the problem but I don’t think it will reduce the number of collisions in any significant way.
    I think the purposed area is too small and it would need to start at St. Luke’s Wood River and extend all the way to Hailey. Too many times, I’ve had to slam on my brakes for deer near the hospital and East Fork Road. About six years ago, I hit a deer at night near Peregrine Ranch and I was going around 45 miles per hour. I never had a chance to see the deer as it ran out from behind a car on the opposite side of the highway. This proves that if you are going 45 mph you can still hit and kill a deer. The slower speed doesn’t help in reaction time. This accident ended up costing me $3,000 in damages to my car.
    I think a better solution would be to line Highway 75 with street lights in compliance with the dark sky ordinance. This would benefit late-night drivers, as well as early-morning commuters. If we could see the deer on the side of the road or as they are crossing, at least we would have more time to slow down instead of slamming on our brakes just as we see the deer in front of us.
    I urge the Wildlife Subcommittee to drive a few nights and maybe some early mornings to get a real sense of what it is like to drive that stretch of road to consider other solutions before they implement this one.
Carolyn Longhurst

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