Purpose and Need
The purpose of this project is to improve public safety and increase highway capacity on U.S. 95 south of Moscow between Thorncreek Road and the South Fork Palouse River Bridge.
The project is needed for several reasons:
- Public safety
- The segment of U.S. 95 from Thorncreek Road to Moscow includes three of the worst accident locations in Idaho. Most crashes are related to sharp curves, narrow shoulders and steep grades.
- Even though U.S. 95 is a major highway, this segment includes 66 driveways and intersections. They create many locations for accidents.
- Over time, with the increase in traffic volumes, safety is expected to decrease.
- The road surface is rough and cracking.
- Highway capacity
- The narrow section between Thorncreek Road and Moscow creates a bottleneck for travelers.
- The roadway does not include adequate shoulders or protection for cars that run off the road.
- Speeds are restricted, drivers spend more time behind slower vehicles and there are few gaps in traffic for passing.
The Idaho Transportation Department is continuing to work on final design plans and right-of-way appraisals for the U.S. 95, Thorncreek Road to Moscow Project. Design work is expected to be completed this spring and right-of-way appraisals will continue until the fall.
The Federal Highway Administration and ITD evaluated many alternatives for the new highway alignment, including western, central and eastern routes. The final eastern route (E2) was chosen after a multi-year environmental review process. ITD received a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Highway Administration in March of 2016. The ROD gave ITD the authority to begin final design and purchase land.
A legal motion was brought against FHWA and ITD regarding the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for this project. In August 2017, the U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled against the motion in favor of FHWA and ITD. In January, an appeal to the ruling was filed in the ninth circuit court. ITD/FHWA submitted comments on the appeal on April 11, 2018. ITD does not anticipate a decision until later this year or early 2019.
Please call Ken Helm at (208)799-5090 if you have any questions about the project.