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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

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For the week of April 3 - 9 , 2002


No time for apathy

A new highway the length of the Wood River Valley has the potential to affect life here for the betteróor worse. Which it will be depends on how many people help identify areas of concern along the highway by showing up to offer their advice on April 16.

From 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. that day, representatives of the consulting company Parsons Brinckerhoff and the Idaho Transportation Department will ask the public to mark maps and list concerns about future highway development at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey.

Itís important that residents participate. Sacrifice of a lunch hour or some time before or after work is a small price to pay to avoid a poorly planned highway that will affect the day-to-day life of every person in the valley.

Itís easy to assume that professional engineers will think of everything, but they wonít. Highway planners canít apply design remedies to problems if they donít know they exist. They arenít mind readers. They canít understand the valleyís culture if someone doesnít explain it.

ITD engineers donít know the valleyóits idiosyncrasies, sensitive areas and use patternsólike the people who live here. If someone doesnít paint them a picture, they are likely to plunk down an off-the-shelf, one-size-fits-all design for a new highway.

The Wood River Valley is not just any old place. It deserves more than a bleak generic industrial-style highway. It needs smart highway improvements that make travel safe but donít destroy neighborhoods, river access points, the valleyís bike/pedestrian path experience, wildlife and sheep migration routes or valley vistas.

This is no time for valley residents to be apathetic or to assume that someone else will take care of their concerns. Itís time to make the effort to be part of the process.

The ITD is doing the right thing by opening the door to public comment and suggestions. Itís right to get concerns on the table before the engineers fire up their computers and issue finished designs.

Itís up to residents to take advantage of the opportunity to try to produce a highway that will add to valley life, not hurt it.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.