Public: Why This Section Of Highway 75?
Ketchum, Idaho (KMVT-TV) The Idaho 75 road project from Timber Way to Big Wood River Bridge impacts not only valley residents, but anyone looking to travel north. On Thursday evening, the Idaho Transportation Department and design-team representatives held an open house to answer any questions the public may have.
Mickey Garcia has lived in Ketchum for nearly 40 years. A self–proclaimed 'Local Expert', remembers a similar highway project in the 1970's.
Garcia says, "people got a four–lane approved from ketchum to timmerman, Environmental Impact Statement and everything...back then it would have cost $20 million to build a highway."
Now Garcia like many other locals, are asking questions about location and costs..
"Now the total cost between $200–$300 million," adds Garcia.
Joe Scott who lives in the area impacted by the roadwork, is curious about why officials chose this particular section of the highway as Phase One, from Timber Way to Big Wood River Bridge.
Scott adds, "we're still going to have many sections of the highway including the most congested, close to Ketchum there's no plans to expand that. I ask the question are we wasting our funding?"
But the ITD tells me the chosen section of highway fit the funding the best.
Nathan Jerke, Public Information Officer, Idaho Transportation Department adds, "whereas a smaller section of funding south of Ketchum was different, it incorporated a bridge, further it incorporated a bridge. Further south towards Hailey, it had a larger section, and incorporated far more residential accesses and would have been more right of way purchases. So it would cost more."
Starting in November, crews will begin the tree removal process along this section of Highway 75 and construction is scheduled to begin next April.
Some of the improvements include widening 75 to two lanes in each direction with an intermittent turn lane for access to residences and businesses.