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 continues to move forward with plans for the U.S. 95, Thorncreek Road to Moscow Project.
The final eastern route (E2) for the highway was chosen after a multi-year environmental review process. The Federal Highway Administration issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the project in 2016, giving ITD authority to begin final design and purchase land.
A legal motion was brought against FHWA and ITD in 2017 regarding the Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision. The U.S. District Court for Idaho ruled against the motion in favor of FHWA and ITD in August 2017.
Project opposition appealed that decision in January 2018. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld the lower court’s decision on December 7, 2018.
ITD will continue right-of-way acquisition and submit a 404 permit application with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After those two steps are completed, the project can be put out for construction bids. Work could begin as early as late summer 2019.
Please call Ken Helm at (208)799-5090 if you have any questions about the project.