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Input sought on Highway 200 project

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | July 28, 2023 1:00 AM

Monday is the last day for public input regarding an upcoming center turn lane construction project on Kootenai Bay Road and Highway 200.

A traffic analysis done in 2016 determined the amount of traffic at the intersection warrants a safer space for left-turning cars to wait for ebbs in traffic. The 2016 survey also analyzed vehicle-turning counts and projected traffic growth to determine whether any right turn lanes were needed at this intersection, but data did not support the pressing need for any at that time.

At the request of the city, the Idaho Transportation Department also considered installing a signal at Kootenai Bay Road, but it was deemed unwarranted by turning traffic volumes or crash history when surveyed in 2016. However, that was over seven years ago and population as well as traffic increases may have changed that need, according to many local residents who frequently use the intersection.

Because of the immense growth that has occurred in the last few years, it is estimated that roughly an additional 1,170 vehicle trips will be taken through that intersection daily.

“This is alarming as it is already incredibly difficult and dangerous for us Ponder Pointers and those of Whiskey Jack to enter Highway 200 safely, especially when turning west toward town with the blind spot in the turning lane,” said Bonner County resident Cathy Klontz.

ITD is accepting public comments about the project through Monday. The department wants to know how citizens feel about what is needed in the intersection; if a turn lane is enough or if a traffic light should be installed as well.

Comments can be left at https://itd.idaho.gov/funding/ or via email at itipcomments@itd.idaho.gov. It is important to reference Key Number 20453, “SH-200, McGhee to Kootenai Street, Bonner County” when leaving comments so the department knows exactly which project these comments pertain to.