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Sandpoint Urban Area Transportation Plan approved by BOCC

by LAUREN REICHENBACH
Staff Writer | July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — The Sandpoint Urban Area Transportation Plan — a project created in collaboration by multiple agencies and cities — was approved Tuesday by Bonner County commissioners.

“The Road and Bridge Department has been working with the local Highway Technical Assistance Council, AECom engineers, and the cities of Sandpoint, Dover, Kootenai and Ponderay to develop an urban area transportation plan using grant money for transportation planning,” Bonner County Road and Bridge Department staff engineer Matt Mulder said.

Mulder told commissioners that no county money was being spent on the project, as it was funded by grant money that had been applied for by the individual cities. The county was part of the cities’ workshops because it has some jurisdiction in the urban areas, he added.

Urban areas are populated areas that sit outside city limits, such as Ponder Point, the engineer told the board.

Each jurisdiction worked to identify projects within these urban area boundaries and analyzed them to develop a prioritization list and cost estimate for each. This way, the entities within each boundary can further coordinate and prioritize grant applications to complete those projects, Mulder said.

The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the plan.

Additionally, Mulder also requested that the board approve the “smoothed” boundary map of those urban areas. Many urban areas have rough or jagged boundary lines, he said, and staff proposed some changes to smooth the lines out slightly.

“Every 10 years when the census happens, they define this urban area based on population densities, and then they give us the opportunity to amend their map,” he said.

The Idaho Transportation Department, county, and cities reviewed the maps during their workshops and determined a few minor adjustments to the boundary lines that they felt should be approved.

“This would be used for the 2023 census and any future urban area transportation plans that may come after that,” he said.

The board also approved the “smoothed” boundary maps unanimously.