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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:38 pm 
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I make rather regular cracks on other topics about the road trip from Boise to Moscow. I don't make enough of them, mind you, but many of you would have issues with the place if you lived here, too!

Anyway, it's only fair to mention that there are plans afoot, finally. The Governor caused a few gasps around the state in making this proposal.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050124/NEWS06/50124015/1056

Kick me for missing the original set of published details the week prior.

The next link is Sunday's story on improvements needed on US 95. On the right, down towards the bottom, there are more graphic representations of the plans...

http://www.idahostatesman.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050130/NEWS06/501300330/1056

...what I should point out is that, while the stretches of highway mentioned around Riggins and south of Moscow are bad (though I can't quite imagine how you create straight roads in the Palouse), the part that I see as more important is what you'll see as the Indian Valley proposal, which should be a decent bypass of the scenic, but very dodgy in weather, Idaho 55 from Eagle through McCall to New Meadows. Most of 55 hugs the Payette River and the adjoining hillsides in about the way 95 hugs the Little Salmon south of Riggins.


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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:37 pm 
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Indian Valley, the village, is due south of Council, and about three miles south of where US 95 bends from west to north. I doubt you'll find it on Mapquest. Indian Valley, the valley, hosts a dirt road that does go all the way to Emmett, which will be realigned and paved into four lanes under the proposal. Basically, this 10-year plan creates a four-lane highway (or freeway) all the way from I-84 around Meridian to that US 95 bend, perhaps through Council and on toward New Meadows.

What you have seen is an attempt at accelerated funding in a 10-year "starter" plan. Longer-range proposals have usually included four lanes pretty much full from Boise or Meridian at I-84 to Coeur d'Alene, and probably all the way to the Canadian border now given the growth in Sandpoint. There will be some contention down the road, as some towns really don't want to be bypassed, and as it pertains to Riggins, I wonder where the heck they'd put a bypass. What scares me is doing something like Wallace (your assignment in February is to watch the movie Dante's Peak, the town filmed is Wallace in Northern Idaho; you will see the way engineers dealt with space concerns when constructing I-90 through there was to elevate the darn freeway practically above the historic downtown area. Ick for the viewpoints blocked. BTW, no volcano anywhere near there, obvious from the film techniques, but just so you know...).

Since the Coeur d'Alene tribe runs the casino mentioned in the article, they don't mind the improvements, though for points south of Worley in possible future plans, they may have some issues. The Nez Perce often get contentious for water rights issues; however, they sometimes seem to fall in line when it comes to entrepreneurship and the need for increased commerce. Coeur d'Alene "feels" more like a Northwest drive through a forest, complex enough, but the Nez Perce land contains some complex and contrasting land forms that might pose issues.

Strangely, the stretch of US 93 you mention feels more like Coeur d'Alene than Nez Perce, though I venture the mountain backdrops are prettier than anything on 95. I imagine the Flathead Reservation would have more issues around Flathead Lake (half within the reservation), which is where more of the engineering issues would exist with or without environmental impact, and that's got to be the tough part of that whole project.


Last edited by pounder on Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:07 am 

If you look at a topographical map of Idaho, You can see a very large mountaneous region in the northern half...The Southern Half of Idaho is mainly a valley, where most of Idaho's Population Resides...It would be very hard to build any major highway to run north and south without major explosive use and the use of tunnels...

It seems like a very small valley that runs north through eastern Oregon and Washington, and that maybe what Idaho could do...Go around the mountains instead of through...

either way, they need to do something to connect Boise to the northen part (moscow) of Idaho....My suggestion is try building a 4 lane from Boise into Eastern Oregon and Washington, and connecting it to Pullman, WA, then people from Northern Idaho can drive to Pullman to get onto the highway...


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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 11:57 am 
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I-84 IS a freeway into Eastern Oregon. Alternate pathways out of that corridor are VERY limited, and in most cases worse than 95.

The only real alternate is to try to build a freeway through Hell's Canyon. If you think building 4 lanes on the Nez Perce land is a problem, you'll have fivefold issues with Hell's Canyon. It's only a National Recreation Area, the deepest gorge (of a sort) in North America, steeper canyon issues than anything currently on 95, and anything on the Oregon side invites your average blue state activism to really get into gear.

Just a little side note- some of the not-necessarily-prevailing theory is that the Snake River Valley that carves through a substantial chunk of Southern Idaho was created by, of all places, Yellowstone. The theory is that the "hot spot" currently located at Yellowstone stays in place relative to the planet, while the tectonic plate shift that goes on over time possibly created the Columbia Basin and eventually the valley mentioned. Give it another million years, and Montana will have easy access to the Northwest... or will create a massive lake on the other side of the continental divide. YMMV.


Last edited by pounder on Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 2:59 pm 
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There's a particular 12-mile stretch of I-70 you're referring to in regards to the stacked freeway, which is in Glenwood Canyon, just east of Glenwood Springs. The stack (which is best described as a "partial" stack) is done about as well as could be engineered while blending it into the hillside, but that was very costly. VERY costly. In Idaho, that's called "fluff," and taxpayers here are of the "cut off their nose to spite their face" mold.

There are a series of rest areas in Glenwood Canyon, right along the Colorado River. My then 4-year-old daughter just loved that; tried to take a rock collection home, actually. I do recommend that trip to anyone here, even if it is a freeway. ;D

The Nez Perce greeted a starving Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery as they came down to the meadows along the Clearwater River in what is now Idaho. They also had substantial land in Northeast Oregon and Southeast Washington, but they haven't done squat about land issues in Oregon for some time. Water is another matter.

I should also mention that the first part of the "chase" of the Joseph-led Nez Perce flight toward Canada was the Battle of White Bird Hill, right along present-day 95 between Grangeville and Riggins (you wouldn't believe the old highway and the switchbacks built in to climb that hill). Old Chief Joseph (the father) is buried by Wallowa Lake near Joseph, Oregon (ANOTHER sweet place to visit, though way out of the way), and the "Young" Chief was banished to the Colville Reservation in Northeastern Washington after being captured 30 miles from the Canadian border in Montana.

My shame is in not having tried to trace the escape path (though I'll have to do the best I can by car). Sometime in the next year or two...


Last edited by pounder on Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 3:18 pm 
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The route along the Little Salmon north into Riggins is VERY tight in that manner, probably with less room than Glenwood. The Salmon north of Riggins to White Bird probably has more room to work with than Glenwood, but not always by much.

The current route from Boise, Idaho 55 along the Payette River, is as tight as the Little Salmon route for large stretches- hence the Indian Valley bypass. The Emmett folks have already started the protests, BTW.

A segment (visualize driving north) within the Nez Perce reservation from Winchester to Lapwai descends through something of a canyon, no visible creek on the side- this might be a sensitive issue.


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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2005 12:38 pm 
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The Statesman finally posted their article on the Indian Valley stretch of the proposal.

http://www.idahostatesman.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050206/NEWS06/502060333/1056

We could well be approaching the same discussion Metro started about environmental mitigation on US 93.


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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2005 5:28 pm 
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Just a little addendum.

Now I get it.

http://www.nevadadot.com/news/releases/release.asp?id=15&user=1&year=2000

This does not specifically mention the "extension" of CANAMEX, where Nevada sees themselves as part of a major corridor between the other NAFTA countries. You'll note that the southern link of this (Hoover Dam and Boulder City, which I drove through Monday night) is already starting up.

The next part of the plan, as I was clued into yesterday, is four lanes of US 93 all the way from the Hoover Dam bypass to Jackpot, on the Idaho border.

THAT fits. Idaho wants to get into the CANAMEX issue. They obviously want to redirect some traffic that might otherwise travel I-15 to this route. Idaho's governor sees possibly routing some traffic from west of the Rockies through Northern Idaho and potentially linking up to US 93, hence the second bridge near Twin Falls and a truck-ready new route rather than trying to work dodgy terrain on the current Idaho US 93, or US 95, or Idaho 55.

Why? As my source tells me, every other truck passing through Eastern Nevada is Canadian. I don't get why, but there's obviously a commercial benefit to this thinking.


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 Post subject: Idaho Improvements
PostPosted: Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:39 pm 
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Quote:
Just a little addendum.

Now I get it.

http://www.nevadadot.com/news/releases/release.asp?id=15&user=1&year=2000

This does not specifically mention the "extension" of CANAMEX, where Nevada sees themselves as part of a major corridor between the other NAFTA countries. You'll note that the southern link of this (Hoover Dam and Boulder City, which I drove through Monday night) is already starting up.

The next part of the plan, as I was clued into yesterday, is four lanes of US 93 all the way from the Hoover Dam bypass to Jackpot, on the Idaho border.

THAT fits. Idaho wants to get into the CANAMEX issue. They obviously want to redirect some traffic that might otherwise travel I-15 to this route. Idaho's governor sees possibly routing some traffic from west of the Rockies through Northern Idaho and potentially linking up to US 93, hence the second bridge near Twin Falls and a truck-ready new route rather than trying to work dodgy terrain on the current Idaho US 93, or US 95, or Idaho 55.

Why? As my source tells me, every other truck passing through Eastern Nevada is Canadian. I don't get why, but there's obviously a commercial benefit to this thinking.


I guess I'm confused Pounder. How does this CANAMEX Highway of 4-laned highway from the Hoover Dam to the Idaho border fit in with a northern route to the Idaho Panhandle?

US 93 really isn't that far west of I-15 in Idaho and doesn't go to Lewiston, Moscow nor Cour d'Alene. US 93 goes by the Craters of the Moon NM and then north into SW Montana up through Hamilton, MT and then onto Missoula where it intersects I-90. I know that US 93 will be 4-lane from Missoula to Kallispell in MT to accommodate Glacier National Park traffic. I think I posted on that earlier as it is an award winning design and community involvement with the Native American Tribes and accommodating animals through frequent critter crossings. But US 93 doesn't go to Lewiston, Moscow and Cour d'Alene nor directly connect Boise to Spokane, two rapidly growing mid-major metro areas.

Btw, I also drove through on US 93 over the Hoover Dam about a month ago and saw what you saw. That is going to be one heck of a bridge over the dam and the vast deep gorge of the Colorado River into Arizona. US 93, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation, is to be completed as a 4-lane from the Hoover Dam from the Hoover Dam all the way to Phoenix. Its already almost done from the Hoover Dam to Kingman (I-40). They are currently expanding the highway from Wikieup to Wickenburg, AZ. AZDOT mentioned on their project website that the corridor will eventually be a full fledge interstate freeway from Phoenix to Las Vegas, using this same corridor, due to the rapid growth of these two major US metro areas. The Wikieup to Wickenburg area is filled with Joshua Trees. There's lots of traffic on that road, but the 100+ mile stretch from Kingman to Wickenburg is quite desolate. The Joshua Trees are cool.

This also reminds me of a PBS special that I watched once on U.S. 93. The narrator was a character actor of Native American decent. I've seen him in many TV shows and some movies. Anyway, he did a special about traveling US 93 from Arizona to the Canadian border. One of the spooky moments was when he stood right beside this famous mailbox on the side of the road near Caliente, NV and near NV routes 318 and 375, the Extra Terrestrial Highway. He described that this is a spot that is really close to Area 51 and where many people have witnessed spaceships or have had a paranormal experience. He interviewed these owners of a cafe nearby that explained an experience. He also stopped in a town in Idaho where Earnest Hemingway had a residence at one time. Don't remember the name of the town. He also stopped in Missoula and described it as a town of the clashing of locals and out-of-towners who come there to go to the University of Montana. He described the town as a place where creative writers relocate to.

Anyway, not to blab on. But ya, interesting.


Last edited by metropolitan on Thu Oct 13, 2005 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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