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Community Discussion #2 - Thank You!

Idaho 75, Elkhorn Road to River Street

ITD hosted a Community Discussion in June 2021 for the Idaho 75, Elkhorn Road to River Street project in Ketchum. The discussion included design options under consideration for the Idaho 75 corridor.

If you have questions, please contact Project Manager Nathan Jerke at [email protected] or (208) 886-7809. Thank you for your interest in this project.

Para solicitar más información sobre este proyecto en Español, por favor llame (208) 334-8567

Segment A - South of Elkhorn to Elkhorn Intersection

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Please watch the video and review each design option. Submit a comment below to let us know what you like and dislike about each option.

I like option 2
Option 2 is perfect in every way. I do, however, oppose the concrete divider in the center of the bridge due to hazards created when driving with deep snow on the road before plows get to it.
Vote for option 2
I would prefer a roundabout design for the Elkhorn intersection.
I would like to see the traffic light removed and a roundabout put in its place.
i also don't think the speed needs to be reduced from 45 to 35 until the round about/stop light intersection.
If build out is completed to 4 lanes of travel, please maintain 45mph in this zone.
Option 2 is a good improvement.
Love option 2 -- I also think a roundabout would reduce stop and go on 75 and look much nicer.
A roundabout at the Elkhorn / 75 intersection would be a big improvement to the flow of traffic; using a modern traffic calming technique with reduced speeds.
I like option 1. Shoulders would be nice instead of a 12' turn lane. Will the gutters be removed to allow easier plowing and for water to exit the road? The storm drains are not adequate/higher than roadway or maintained. A roundabout sounds like a good way to slow traffic and yet, still keep everyone moving.
How do you plan to obtain the new right of way easements?
I like Option 2. I suggest the following changes: * Extend sidewalk on East side of Hiway a bit further up Elkhorn Road so it merges with the bike path. * I prefer a roundabout at the intersection over a traffic signal.
The design improvements are well considered. I didn't see reference to a concrete divider along the bridge on SH-75. I would not welcome that feature. A roundabout at the intersection of Elkhorn Rd. & SH-75 seems impracticable. However not so at the Serenade Ln intersection with SH-75.
Elkhorn light would need a left turn signal. It is already very difficult to turn left onto Elkhorn Road when driving south.
Segment A Option 2 is ideal. It simplifies the existing situation which is the start of a problematic entry to KETCHUM.
Very relieved to see the reduction in speed limit. As a daily multiple times traveler of this road I know that the actual speed of northbound vehicles from the hospital to Elkhorn light averages over 50 mph, with southbound being a little less. The reduction in speed limit to 35 mph will probably slow things to 45 mph. I suggest that if the speed limit were set at 25 mph here, from the hospital and through town, less overall congestion would occur because people would have more time to sort out the current lane reduction going north. That would mean there would be no need to spend millions on the other proposals for the road north of the Elkhorn light. Option 2 will be safer for everybody. Thank you.
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Segment B - Elkhorn to Serenade

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Please watch the video and review each design option. Submit a comment below to let us know what you like and dislike about each option.

I prefer option C for providing a buffer between traffic flowing in opposite directions, and making it safer for vehicles turning into residences and businesses in that section. It is also more intuitive for drivers who anticipate making a turn in that area.
Please do not remove the shoulders. Cyclists still use the road when the bike path is not rideable. I like design C, removing the sidewalk, but keep the shoulders.
We vote for Design Option 3. Our driveway is on Highway 75, keeping the center turn lane is very important to us, as we use this lane everyday. Reducing the speed limit, with a roundabout or traffice control speed bumps would help. We would like to see trucks use "no compression" braking, therefore reducing noise pollution.
Unless we reduce the speed limit to 25 from Elkhorn light to center Ketchum, there is going to be "congestion" wherever the existing 3 lanes or 4 lanes go down to 2 lanes. Reducing the speed limit is the best way to minimize congestion because it gives drivers time to sort out the lane reduction. None of the proposals reduce congestion. They cost millions of dollars and simply move the lane reduction "congestion" point 300 yards up the road to Serenade, where the proposed lane reduction (and "congestion") will then occur. I suggest we try the 25 mph speed limit for a year and see if the perceived congestion gets better--it is nothing beyond normal now. Also, I live on Neils Way and can guarantee that any proposal that does not leave a middle safety/turn lane in front of Neils Way (and Mortgage Row and the gas station) will result in multiple serious accidents. It is already very tricky to turn north from Neils Way today and is only saved by the middle turn lane. And scores of cars and trucks--residents, visitors, landscapers, UPS, FedEx, city of Ketchum, water company, gas company, trash company, etc.--turn north from Neils Way every day. I request that anyone (engineers or general public) proposing to eliminate the middle safety lane there to please first drive to Neils Way and try to turn north on 75. Thank you.
I recommend turn lanes into Neils Way and also the North entrance of Weyakin (also at the traffic light at Elkhorn Rd). There really needs to be a turn lane at the north entrance to the Hospital..(VERY Dangerous!!!) I am not sure if a shoulder is necessary but a side walk is totally necessary from the north entrance of Weyakin to Ketchum. Children live in Weyyakin and there is not a safe or easy way to bike/walk to Ketchum. Middle turn lanes into gas station/business complex. Speed limit from Elkhorn light can remain 35..BUT change at North Weyakin or Reinheimer Ranch to 25 up to Ketchum. Thanks you for your time! Susan
Design 3 - ABSOLUTELY! I live in Weyyakin and use the 75 entrance multiple times a day. Widening to 4 lanes with a nice wide center lane all the way between Elkhorn Road and Serenade is the right move. The loss of pedestrian walkway on east side of 75 is 100% acceptable to me.
I support Option 3. Also favor reducing speed limit to 30 mph from 35 mph for safety related reasons.
Segment B, Option 3 is the better option in my opinion. 2 lanes in both directions will aid helping in with the current commuter traffic congestion. Especially in the south Bound afternoon situation.
My preference would be for a roundabout. That way we don't need turn lanes, right? So 75 could stay narrower? To me, one of the charms of this area is roads that are not over-designed. My 2 cents: keep the shoulders and sidewalk (although maybe it's been decided that saving these existing features is not possible?)
Option 3 looks the best to me.
Segment B, option 3 is the best of the options. More important than the number of northbound and southbound lanes is the retention of a center turn lane. IF safety is a stated goal, then not having a center turn lane is contrary to that goal. Without a turn lane it is difficult to enter the highway while trying to find a "gap" in traffic in both directions at the same time. When exiting the highway a center turn lane allows the vehicle to wait for a "gap" and not hold up the traffic behind them, which also mitigates people making quick lane changes in order to not have to wait for a left turning driver. If there is no center turn lane, there will be an increase in accidents. The other options aren't as safe and create a choke point at Serenade Lane. I would prefer that there only be one northbound, one southbound, and one center turn lane from Serenade to just south of the Elkhorn light. This would move the choke point to south of the Elkhorn light and would allow a narrower road section which would both make snow storage simpler and leave room for a sidewalk/bike path.
I like option 3 (which I assume you are calling C) only because I feel it is a MUST to have a center turn lane in this section of road. There are multiple residential and commercial access points and with more people using 75 at all hours of the day, it has become increasingly harder to turn north or south from a side street if you are turning across traffic to head the opposite direction. I am working professionals living on Meadow Cir. so I enter and exit the highway around 8am and 5pm each day. The absence of a middle turning lane would be a massive safety issue. You are putting lives at risk.
Keep the lanes as is (with the sidewalk and shoulder). The wider the highway gets the faster cars go regardless of the speed limit. With the posted speed of 35mph cars currently approach Ketchum at 45mph. More lanes will only make it worse and add to congestion at Serenade Lane.
Segment B option 2 is best, You get the turn lanes where needed but not this excessively wide thoroughfare into town. Eliminating sidewalks is an improvement but keep the shoulder wide enough for a biker.
I support the roundabout design. How soon can you move to construction?
In Segment B, I assume that option C refers to option 3?
I prefer Option C. The center turn lane is an absolute must for safely entering and exiting the Hiway between Neil’s and Elkhorn Road. I also favor a sidewalk on East side of Hiway between Waiyakin and Seranade where it would connect to the sidewalk north of Seranade. This would provide a safe continuous walkway from Waiyakin to downtown Ketchum.
Option C is the best because four lanes are necessary with the massive increase in traffic we are now seeing due to the influx of new people in the valley due to the pandemic. They are here to stay and traffic has backed up considerably on the single lane sections of this part of 75.
Option 3 is likely the safest option as many will not pay attention to the limited turn lane in front of the commercial section. Also, Option 3 provide for a turn lane for those heading north from Neils Way.
I'd like to see a sidewalk from Weyyakin north entrance to Serenade Lane. Weyyakin does not have access safely out of either the North or South Entrance. Providing a sidewalk from the north entrance would be helpful for seniors, families, and children to safely get to Ketchum. We have tried to walk before and it is very dangerous this route with no sidewalk. Additionally we can go the south route but there is not a safe access to the trail. you have to cross Elkhorn road when no cars are coming. Okay for some but not for kids and dangerous for elderly that don't move as fast. It's also a much further walk to get to town this route. Overall project looks great on all other items.
The first choice is to have three lanes from Elkhorn light to Seranade, one of traffic each direction and a center turn lane. Removing the center turn lane provides a very unsafe situation for all vehicles turning in and out of driveways, roads, parking areas. Other advantages are: choke point stays farther south of town, providing a nicer entry to the City of Ketchum, it provides more room for snow removal, and less noise. Second choice would be the five lane version, only because it keeps the center turn lane from Elkhorn Road past Neils Way. Disadvantages are noise level will increase for homes along the route, snow removal will be difficult, choke point will be at town, which is not welcoming. Also, the visibility at the driveways and roads will be lessened with additional snow piles at the intersections.
Segment C, Option 2 is the best in my analysis and opinion. At first I liked the round about solution. But in further thought the light is my preference for several reasons, first the light at the hospital is an indication of how this would function: it provides a calming effect to drivers, unlike the light at Elkhorn with no right turn northbound, a set up for a race to the lanes narrowing, too narrow left turn to Elkhorn road etc. Ample room is calming. A roundabout allows for somewhat subjective decisions as to the right of way. Secondly traffic halting will supply some additional opportunity for traffic to enter and cross highway 75 at the Gem streets, Leadville, and other developments. Especially if some kind of coordination between the lights at Serenade and First avenue could be programmed. Possibly too much to ask for. Secondly, I like the addition of Pedestrian and Bikeways to connect the southern bike path and this southern portion of town. Something now sorely missing. Lastly, I also feel the bridge at Trail creek should be rebuilt higher and with the ability to handle the much increased traffic at the intersection at River street which will continue to grow with the existing Hotel and new Hotels being proposed there. Even the big hole project will have something built there someday. There will always be a bottleneck in Ketchum with the lack of left turn lanes. But alas no room. At least make the bridge safe. The traffic lights previously mentioned and a low speed limit should maintain a safe and controlled flow through segment C.
The choices don't match the labels. Option 1 or 2 or 3 versus Option B or C etc. I like Option 2 which wasn't a clear choice to click on!
My vote is for: B Design Option 3 with a couple variations. 1: reduce the speed limit to 30 mph from the Gem streets to Elkhorn. We live on Neils Way and trying to turn (L) is a nightmare d/t once traffic passes the barn they increase their speed to 40-45 mph. 2: if a shoulder, bike lane, and sidewalk are out of the question - how about a 3 foot "safety" area on each side of the road which would provide a little extra space for the biker or walker, or police with a pulled over speeder. Where we lived previously, the road in front of our home had this ... though not perfect, it was better than nothing.
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Segment C - Serenade Intersection to River Street

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Please watch the video and review each design option. Submit a comment below to let us know what you like and dislike about each option.

Please add the roundabout. This makes sense as we will avoid start and stop traffic, and the eye sore of another traffic light.
Please add a crosswalk across Main Street/Hwy 75 in the vicinity of Garnet/Topaz/Emerald streets. Residents will need a safe way to access the west side of the highway and the Wood River Trail, Serenade Lane, etc.
Very important to provide safe pedestrian sidewalks and bike lanes on West and especially East side of 75 north of Serenade. Currently those of us in the Gem Streets from Emerald and south, have no good way to even get as far north as Gem Street on foot or on a bike. From Gem St we could go up to Leadville and walk or bike into town. Now it is so unpleasant and risky that one is inclined to drive into town, just adding to its traffic congestion. I also think a cross walk near the Timbers would add an element of safety. Thank you.
option 3 with sidewalks and a strict 20 mph speed limit
For any of the options for segment C, please consider 10 foot widths for the travel lanes. They are proven to improve road safety and do not impact vehicle travel - in addition it would provide more space for bike/ped improvements along the highway.
I definitely want the roundabout for traffic flow.
I propose moving the roundabout to the west and off the potential National Register of Historic Places property (Reinheimer Ranch). A roundabout would provide the best solution for traffic flow and an opportunity to construct a scenic entry to town.
I am thrilled to see pedestrian access from the bike path to town in options 2 and 3. Would it be possible to combine the bike lane and sidewalk on the west side, narrow the vehicle travel lanes to 10’ (to calm traffic) and add a buffer? Sun Valley Road is a great example where there is a small strip of grass separating the bike/ped path from traffic. That small green strip of grass slows traffic, makes it a more scenic and enjoyable stretch for driving, walking and biking.
Fully support Option 3. I am a full time resident that lives off this section of the highway. This option will dramatically improve pedestrian safety as well as provide a user friendly access in and out of our town. Rotaries are very effective at moving traffic without the need for another stop light and backing up traffic. As Ketchum continues to grow, the center piece of the rotary could be used as a welcome area to our town versus our current signage which is barely visible. Additional comments include 1). ensuring Idaho Energy buries the power lines prior to road construction on the east side of the highway 2) installing a pedestrian crosswalk near the Sockeye bus stop as there is currently no safe way to cross the highway today, and 3) installing a tunnel (similar to Elkhorn intersection) for pedestrian and bike traffic to cross at the roundabout.
C: design Option 3 looks best with the addition of lowering the speed limit to 30 mph south of Serenade to Elkhorn.
Option C- Design 3 1. No question that we need a round about. A better entry into Ketchum 2. 3 lanes is all that we should have. Bike lanes, sidewalks, and parking on the west side for sure! Westridge needs the parking to access the condos on top. Used by trades people a lot ! 3. 20 mph north of serenade
I think if you look at traffic flows this summer you’ll find there is no viable option without 4 lanes all the way into town.
I love the idea of a roundabout at this junction! And I feel like it will extend the feel of being 'in town (Ketchum)' down to Serenade. I'm concerned how it will function because I use this intersection ever day, multiple times a day.
Please add a pedestrian cross walk for the bus stop across from Sockeye Square. There are offices in there that people would use the bus from Hailey to access, such as Dental office, etc. Pedestrians need to get across safely from the east side to the west side.
I prefer Option 3. The roundabout is a Must. It is a Much safer and efficient traffic control system over a signal. Plus, it provides an attractive ‘entrance’ to Ketchum and it will ‘naturally’ slow the traffic to 25 mph. There needs to be a crosswalk at Gem St and a second at Emerald or Topaz. People in these neighborhoods need a safe place to cross to the west side of Hiway to access the bike trail and Seranade to River Run. If only one crosswalk is possible, then it should be at Emerald or Topaz.
I would defer to the experts on how to handle the intersection of Hwy 7road 5 and Seranade. All will be for naught should the City of Ketchum not allow 4 lanes into town. The slow downs where the hiway goes from 4 to 3 lanes is only getting worse, and the traffic coming an going through Ketchum will only be exasperated by not bringing four lanes into the city. Nobody wants to live through another two years of construction, so let’s get it right the first time!
I strongly prefer option 3. I live between Serenade and River St and I worry that a stop light will result in daily traffic backups all the way to down town ketchum. A roundabout will make it far less common because the flow of traffic south at the end of the day will remain unimpeded. I love the bike lane addition! It will be such an improvement (usability and safety) to be able to get from downtown Ketchum to Big Wood River Trail or the mountain on the trails rather than a narrow shoulder that disappears in the winter due to the snow banks.
As the entrance to town a roundabout is much more attractive (local art, welcome sign). There needs to be 4 lanes of traffic from Serenade into Main Street. Bottle necking is the main issue and we finally have the option to have four lanes consistently from East Fork to 6th street. Bike lane only needed on one side use it to have 4 lanes or parking
In looking over your map you have miss spelled Andora Lane , you have it marked Andera . Also it does seem as if the ITD has considered the difficulty of people who live on Andora lane having egress and ingess from the hyway to their homes. In your 1st video you may not have recognized the car waiting on traffic and the fact it didn't move as there is no consistency in the breaks in traffic, how will this be addressed.
How do the time projections for Idaho Power's burying of power lines coincide with the Hwy project? Are you working hand -in - hand with Idaho Power to coordinate these two construction projects - both the physical specification requirements, plus the timing of both constructions?
Westridge needs to retain the parking on top, next to the southbound lane of the Hwy. It is used by visitors and trades service vehicles all day. Please keep an 8 ft wide space for parking between the sidewalk and the bike lane.
The Trail Cr bridge should be FOUR (4) lanes. Please do NOT stripe the bridge with 3 lanes.
1) Do NOT eliminate the on-street parking on the west side of Hwy 75 between Serenade and Andrea lanes. Leave or reconstruct the existing curb and gutter and allow parking in the 8ft "buffer" zone. Very important for visitors to all the homes and establishments in that section. 2A) Who is coordinating with Idaho Power regarding proposed underground Transmission and/or Distribution Lines? 2B) Would Idaho Power have to dig up the new sidewalk, bike path and retaining wall in order to bury any underground Power Lines if they are not performed concurrently with the Highway project?
The roundabout would be nice, but it is most important to continue four lanes of traffic all the way into Main Street of Ketchum. Traffic is already backing up because of the single lane currently due to all the traffic. It is nuts to think all this work will help traffic flow better if you try to squeeze it down to a pinch point at the Gem Streets.
I like the idea of a rotary but think a light would be a better option to "break up" traffic flow and help residents and businesses access 75. I like the idea of increasing bike and pedestrian travel north and south on this section of highway. I also think a pedestrian crossing signal for the Gem residents would be amazing. I don't live on the Gem streets but see kids and families trying to cross traffic all the time.
I prefer the roundabout as it may slow traffic but it won't stop it, which would result in backing up traffic as many retreat south post work. For the bridge, could the 3 lanes shift so that 2 are available going north in morning and then 2 going south at day's end? All other features look good.
I tend to lean to traffic light because it feels like the volume of traffic coming out of town at 5 pm will make this a challenge for anyone coming from Serenade Lane. But, I'm not an expert on traffic volume and flow. Also, I noted on Segment B that I would like to see a sidewalk from Weyyakin to Serenade Lane (which would then need a safe way to cross at Serenade to get to the existing sidewalk on the west side of the street).
Nathan As a new home owner at 706 South Leadville (near the corner of Gem and Leadville), I love all of the proposed changes. I agree that a roundabout may not be the best long term solution but a traffic light is key at that intersection. In the proposed design (and this is a small detail but of course important to me), could there be any proposed plantings in front of the vacant lot on the corner of Gem and 75? This wold be an enhancement for both drivers and those residence that will see the increase in traffic over the coming years. Happy to get involved if there is any option. Thanks for your consideration and great work to this point.
Can we do design option 1 and ditch the sidewalk and bike lane on the East side in favor of two inbound lanes maybe?? We do have other bike and pedestrian paths in town and they would still be present on the west side. This might help a lot with the traffic backup into town in the mornings. Some traffic could still divert to Serenade lane in the PM rush hour to decrease the backup into town then.
A traffic signal at Serenade Lane and Highway 75 is the only way to create gaps in traffic for people trying to enter or cross the Highway from Serenade Lane and the Gem Streets. Please make this a priority; it would greatly improve pedestrian and vehicular safety, by slowing traffic in both directions.
A traffic light at Serenade Lane and Highway 75 would slow speeding cars in both directions, and allow time for cars leaving the Gem Streets and Serenade lane safe gaps in traffic to enter onto the Highway.
I like C option 2 ...a light at Serenade.
Is ITD improving the River Street intersection?
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Other comments or questions
Has ITD considered a more radical solution to the problem of traffic on 75 North of Serenade? Main Street in Ketchum could be one-way northbound with the southbound direction handled via Serenade and Second Avenue. Of course, there would have to be a connection from the end of Second Avenue back to 75 on the other side of town. This would make the center of Ketchum far more walkable and alleviate some of the traffic issues. This is a much more long-term approach and is fraught with political issues, eminent domain issues and cost. This situation is unlikely to get better. This may be too radical for conservative Idaho. The economics will not improve over time. It would seem to be a valid community goal to move the southbound late afternoon tie-up off of Main Street to a parallel street and to generally make crossing streets downtown safer. I advocate not moving forward on Serenade to River St segment until a more visionary plan for moving through the center of Ketchum is considered.
I really like submintting comments online. Thank you
How soon will construction begin?
Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I would strongly urge you to spend a full day or two observing traffic in front of the Gem Streets and see just how much traffic gets backed up on the single lane into Ketchum most of the day. It truly is a mistake not to have four lanes all the way into Ketchum on this project. People in the know are now starting to create more traffic on Elkhorn Road and Serenade Lane as a result. That is also not acceptable for what should be highway traffic. Please give this some serious consideration. Thank you.
What about planning for the future? use the big hole for a large parking garage, create a center of town with walking streets, add a central transportation area in the Warm Springs industrial area, add a tunnel under main street.
Sadly, motorists do not even understand the concept of right away at a four way stop. A roundabout could be disastrous, especially with snow removal.
Love submitting comments online as I was not able to attend the in person Limelight meeting. Thank you! Safety of the residents and businesses is of utmost importance. Turning on and off 75 in this zone is stressful and feels very unsafe. I am in favor or lower speed limits, center turning lanes, keeping snow berms away from side streest and anything else that focuses on safety.
Widening to 5 lanes (4 over the bridge) will be welcome. Bike traffic seems best focused away from the highway onto the existing bike path. I'm not a huge fan of roundabouts especially given the large volume of long truck traffic that would cross over lanes in a tight circle. Long term approach to through town traffic is needed similar to other towns like McCall and Sandpoint. Notice how the locals are scooting around the downtown congestion by Northbound turning right on 1st St to access SV Road and Southbound (and Northbound) using 3rd Ave. Possibly adding a modified version of these to a long term thoroughfare. (maybe this is Ketchum, not ITD.)
Consistent 4 lanes from East Fork to Main street Ketchum please! Roundabout at Serenade please! Let the city of Ketchum decide what goes in the middle of the roundabout.
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