The Idaho Transportation Department listed public safety as its number one reason for improving U.S. Highway 95.
This highway is one of the major north-to-south highways in Idaho and provides Idaho with economic growth, said Jim Carpenter, Idaho District 2 engineer.
Carpenter said it is the main highway for agriculture, commercial and recreational purposes between north and south Idaho, and creating a road that is friendlier to all the traffic while also having safer travel conditions will help to increase Idaho’s economy.
The southern part of U.S. 95, from the top of Lewiston hill to Thorncreek Road, has already been improved, said Jen Pfiffner, assistant to the City Supervisor.
However, the 6.5 mile stretch from Thorncreek road to Moscow still needs to be improved, she said.
The 16 mile stretch of U.S. 95 that has been improved has four times less traffic accidents, both in fatalities and injuries, Pfiffner said.
To create a safer road, four main alternate routes have been created, and are being looked at to see which one is the best choice she said.
Pfiffner said ITD plans to both widen and realign the 6.5 mile stretch, and the four routes give a chance for a realignment that could be close to the current road, or move to the east and west of it.
The ITD held a public hearing in January to inform people about the Thorncreek Project, she said.
Also, the public had until Feb. 23 to comment on the Project and Draft Environment Impact Statement.
The DEIS is a public document created to give detailed information about the impacts of each of the four main alternate routes that were created, she said.
It tells the environmental impact on farmland and air quality, while also looking at traffic and recreational impacts, she said.
The IDT wants to create the best alternate route they can to improve the safety of the highway, she said.
Allison Griffith can be reached at email@example.com