C-3 is Safest Route for U.S. Highway 95

John Crock, Moscow

The Moscow-Pullman Daily News 2/19/13

After speaking with an Idaho Transportation Department representative at the recent Highway 95 re-alignment forum, he admitted the safety numbers for the E-2 alternative are underestimates of the big picture, which in the E-2 option, old 95 still exists. People, including residents on that stretch, would still drive old 95. Accidents would occur and people would die on that old stretch. Of course, the traffic would be greatly less, so maybe accidents would only occur at one-tenth the current rate, but when you add in those numbers to the projected accident rate on E-2, E-2 is the most dangerous alternative.

C-3 obliterates the old 95 roadway, so there are no additional accidents and is thus safer in the big picture. In addition, ITD models E-2 as being safer than C-3 because there are no businesses on it since it hasn’t been built. As soon as there is high traffic flow on E-2, savvy business or property owners will develop the adjacent land, and it will soon be as congested as old 95 is today, meaning the lower accident projections will be short-lived.

When I first started driving 95 nearly 40 years ago, the speed limit was 55. Now, despite it being well known as one of the most dangerous roads in Idaho, the speed limit is 60. I don’t trust ITD to improve safety on old 95 once E-2 is built because they have done nothing and, in fact, made old 95 more dangerous in the intervening decades.

Let’s go with the safest alternative, the central route, and get rid of those death curves. Using the existing corridor worked well with the 15 miles from Thorncreek to the top of the Lewiston grade, let’s continue that success and get the C-3 route built.

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