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For the week of May 30 through June 5, 2001

Evict the stoplight gremlin

The Idaho Transportation Department needs to fix the stoplight at the hospital intersection south of Ketchum.

It’s driving commuters nuts.

If it’s not fixed soon, it’s going to be more than a minor irritation—it’s going to start costing businesses and employees money.

A red light for highway traffic is supposedly triggered when a car on a lightly traveled cross-street stops and is ready to enter the highway. That’s the theory, anyway.

The theory isn’t working.

Some mischievous gremlin seems to have taken up residence in the light. The gremlin delights in triggering the red light for no reason.

Driver after driver is forced to stop and wait at the intersection–while absolutely nothing happens. Befuddled, they watch in the rearview mirror as traffic stacks up behind.

Ordinarily, this would be a minor irritation, unworthy of editorial comment. Just another piece of life in the big city¾ except this isn’t the big city.

State Highway 75 is the valley’s economic lifeline—its only highway¾ especially in the summer when most visitors arrive here by car. Summer is when most tourist-related businesses do the bulk of their business.

This summer drivers will have to contend with more highway construction, all manner of slow-moving heavy equipment—and the stoplight.

Last summer, highway construction delays caused employees to be late to work, made it difficult or impossible for some businesses to open on time and aggravated visitors.

Commuters are exhibiting patience with delays caused by highway construction. They shouldn’t have to endure the stoplight as well.

The busy summer season kicked off over the weekend and traffic will continue to get heavier until it peaks some time in August. The blasted stoplight will ensure that frustration will peak with the traffic counts.

The discombobulated stoplight is inexcusable in a world where satellites can take photographs of the family cat on the fence in the back yard, and where information bounces its way around the planet and back in a matter of seconds.

The ITD needs to evict the stoplight gremlin. That would make everyone’s summer a lot more pleasant.



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