More Answers Needed from ITD

Joann Muneta, Moscow

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 1/19/13

Recent letters to the editor about the Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) proposed rerouting of U.S. Highway 95 have been highly disappointing.

It is unfair and misleading to blame those interested in our environment for errors and omissions made by ITD.  No one in our community advocated waiting ten years to reconsider the highway issue.  Let’s acknowledge that everyone has now, and has had, safety as a primary concern.

Step one is to find out if E-2 is indeed safer, given the higher elevation of that route, which can lead to more ice, snow, and fog.  Other ITD claims for choosing E-2 don’t seem to be reasonable – such as saying E-2 is better because it is shorter, when there is only .09 of a mile difference between the C-3 and E-2 routes.

After safety, it is necessary to consider other issues, including the integrity of Paradise Ridge, one of Moscow’s treasured landmarks, as well as the well-being of the irreplaceable native Palouse Prairie and local flora and fauna.  Ten years ago, I attended every public meeting, focus group, and monthly breakfast meeting held by ITD on this subject.

Many questions were asked by concerned residents, not all of whom were environmentalists.  Very few received answers.  I continually requested a rendering of what the E-2 route would look like from Moscow, looking south at Paradise Ridge.  This never materialized.

Hopefully, ITD will favor us with this look into the future that they are advocating for us.

Given that we are now a corridor for megaloads and increasing truck traffic, we deserve to know how the ITD plan will affect our community.

We also need to know how safety will be assured on the current Highway 95 when it continues to be used after the new highway is built.  We deserve answers, not blaming.

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