Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
If we stay in the current, fixed mindset that has created the traffic problem here in Kootenia County, then yes, we would have no choice. However, if we work as a community of people who have knowledge and experience, we can make the traffic in the area better without capturing any more land through eminent domain seizures or forced right-of-way overtakes. The lights and cross-lane entrances to major thoroughfares need to be addressed. If this action is not taken, a hypothetical 8-lane highway connecting US-95 above Hayden to I-90 will not improve traffic in this area.
United States wide research has confirmed that Bypass designs are not the way forward. The State Smart Transportation Initiative published the Innovated DOT Handbook in 2015 which addresses many of the issues we experience here in Kootenai County today. It also provides informed guidance on what has worked best.
Innovated DOT Handbook - Focus Area 4, Implementation, Policy Mechanisms, #1
Consider a broader scope of project options for addressing traffic congestion problems by partnering with local governments.
Many states opt to widen their roadways or add capacity to the same roads they already have when roads suffer from congestion and inadequate capacity. They also sometimes pursue bypass projects, especially when the congested roadway they seek to address serves as a main street or other primary commercial street for a town or city. Instead, states can increase capacity on an overall corridor route by continuing to maintain the route on a main street and adding improvements on parallel and nearby streets that can increase service to the overall community and corridor area. This is often the least costly option. [bold added]
Yes. It is concerning that $3,000,000 from COVID-19 funds were drawn to start the process. According to the U.S. Treasury, this is not how funds are meant to be used. However, as confirmed by Glenn Miles and in 2021-2027 TIP Amendment 11 COVID-19 funding was used. A continued over reach of protocol with our state and local government.
NO, you did not vote against this project directly. What was voted against is the addition of a $50 vehicle registration charge to fund several projects.
- Yes, you did vote against the vehicle registration fees (offical results)
- YES: 28,213 or 33.38%
- NO: 56,301 or 66.62%
- No, the voted did not stop any of the projects from moving forward
We are not dealing with reasonable people. They already had plans, in expectation that people would not approve that funding, to draw on the Gas Tax or COVID-19 funding.
Instead of reaching back out to the community for input, all the projects continued without change. They are just seeking different funding sources.
The people moving this project forward have taken several actions that are concerning. It is possible that they will continue to move down this path of shady activity and find a way to wrongfully capture enough funding to force this project on the people of Kootenai County.
The start of the Huetter Corridor project is different from when people in Kootenai County began looking at Huetter Road as a location to address the future needs of the area. The conversation started back around 1997. But, of interest, is that the US 95 remodel was not submitted until after the KMPO started looking at Huetter for the project ($342 million widening set for U.S. 95).
Details from the November 6, 2006 Board Memorandum
Since at least 1997, the concept of developing an alternate or additional transportation route for better north/south travel between the Garwood area and Interstate 90, has been in the public discussion. Part of this discussion has also focused on improving the east-west connections on the Rathdrum Prairie. The 1997 Kootenai County Area Transportation Team (KCATT) Plan specifically identified the Huetter Corridor as an area that should be considered for further transportation development. This was again evaluated in the 2001-2003 time frame when the Idaho Transportation Department conducted the U.S. 95 Corridor Study to address increasing congestion on U.S. 95 north of Interstate 90. Both efforts had significant public involvement programs in which the Huetter Corridor was specifically called out as part of a long-term potential solution to address both increased traffic congestion on S.H. 41 and U.S. 95 as well as rapid residential growth on the Rathdrum Prairie.
It is unclear why, when having the ability to improve US 95 and SR-41 at that time, this option was not validated. In fact, the community demanded that this be addressed and it wasn't. Here are the notes collected from community feedback. The project should not have moved forward at that point.
- Favor - 15
- Favor with Changes - 8
- Opposed - 80
Against the Project Issues
- Improve SH 41 and US 95 instead
- Improve SH 41 with interchanges at Prairie Avenue, Hayden Avenue, and Lancaster Road
- Alignment east of Huetter Road
- Favor yellow option
- No extension south of the river
- Higher noise levels
- Impacts existing homes
- No Poleline Avenue interchange
- Reduced facility speed in residential areas
- Keep Poleline Avenue as a two lane road
- Improve US 95 connection to the south across the river
- Improve US 95 with frontage roads
- Change alignment north of Lancaster Road - shift to the east of Ramsey Road to connect to US 95
- Use SH 53 instead from Stateline to US 95
- Improve SH 41 and add a roadway connection to US 95 using the railroad right of way
- Project will increase crime and accidents
The likelihood that this project is able to be at or under $300 million dollars is low. The financial figure was derived years ago and has not been revised. National estimates from states that have better financial planning would see this as a 12-lane road, not a 6-lane road as Kootenai County Community Development has stated. The cross-section of the new 2021 redesign has 4-lanes dug 26 feet down and Huetter Road will be 2-lanes with a center turn lane; 7-lanes in total plus a lot of paved buffer for accidents (see cross-section).
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) does not even have something that represents the absurd misuse of land for a road similar to what the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (KMPO) has proposed. However, if we look at what FDOT has posted, it would be a combination of a few different options, of which the prices listed are cost per mile.
These below road comparisons were made because of the drastic amount of excessive land used in the cross section provided by the KMPO. A 26 foot media and 32 foot clear zones on each side of the highway represent a significant amount of extra space that will need to be paved making the design a 9-lane highway plus a frontage road.
Considerable FDOT Road Options
- $7,319,275.78 - New Construction Divided Rural 6 Lane Interstate with 10' Paved Shoulders Inside and Out: R08
- 3x $678,368.69 New Construction Extra Cost for 1 Single Additional Lane on a Rural Interstate: R10
- $3,073,725.04 - New Construction Undivided 3 Lane Rural Road with 5' Paved Shoulders, Center Turn Lane: R02
Cost Per Mile Does NOT Include
- Eminent domain land purchases
- Removal of houses
- Excavation of flat roadway
- Excavation 26 feet down for the highway for 10 miles
- Creating over passes
- On/off ramp costs
- Creating another exit on I-90
- Removing the current rest stop on I-90
- Moving major gas lines
- Moving major electrical lines
- Moving large commercial, national East-West fiber optic line
- Moving phone lines
- And many other work items
Cost Per Mile for Pavement ONLY: $12,428,106.89
Estimated Pavement ONLY Cost for 10 miles: $124,281,068.90
Considering current market costs, a low estimate would be four (4) times the paving costs or $497,124,275.60. However, estimates closer to $800,000,000 are likely.
No. The likelihood of it reducing truck traffic by more than 10-15% is small. The reality is that Glenn Miles is working to promote more traffic through Norther Idaho from Canada, CAGTC - Profile. In the profile, it shows that Glenn is working on "...leading an effort with transportation agencies, economic development organizations and business interests in Idaho and Alberta, Canada in establishing greater ties associated with freight and commerce between Edmonton, AB and Coeur d' Alene, ID areas."
The issue with this goal, is that it has not been approved, or reviewed, with the community of Norther Idaho. This would include areas north of Kootenai County which should have say in what is planned for the future here.