ITD board tours North Idaho

Ramsey Road near Cd'A Airport was topic of discussion

SHAWN GUST/Press A laborer works on an overpass near U.S. 95 Wednesday as part of a highway improvement project near Chilco Road. The Idaho Transportation Department held a board meeting in Coeur d'Alene that included tours of area projects.

The Coeur d'Alene Airport and the city of Hayden are considering connecting Ramsey Road around or underneath the airport, airport Manager Greg Delavan said on Wednesday.

The item was one of several Delavan raised at a meeting with the Idaho Transportation Department board, which stopped by the airport on a tour of the Coeur d'Alene area.

"(The road connection) is important for the community to access the airport, and provides relief for (U.S.) 95," Delavan said.

He pointed out that with U.S. 95 often facing heavy traffic, many take the parallel Ramsey Road to save time.

But Ramsey "just ends" at the airport perimeter, he said, forcing drivers to take Wyoming Avenue to continue north on U.S. 95.

Preferable would be a continuing alternate route to the highway, Delavan said, achieved by connecting the ends of Ramsey on either side of the airport, separated by about a mile.

"It's a slow, poor intersection," he said of the Wyoming intersection with U.S. 95.

"To bring people to 95 and Wyoming is not a good idea."

Sometimes drivers just ignore the end of Ramsey and plow into the airport fence, Delavan also said before the meeting.

The last incident was two weeks ago, he said, when the driver took out the fence and got stuck in a dirt pile.

"There was significant alcohol involved," Delavan said, adding that the airport is insured to replace the fence.

Ramsey continues north to Highway 54, he said, after it picks up again past the airport.

Connie Krueger, Hayden's community and economic director, also said at the meeting that a large city area north of the airport is zoned for industrial and commercial development.

"What we're hoping is to provide access into the area," Krueger said.

Delavan said he considers the best connection to be under the airport.

"I know the reason is dollars," he said of why that might not be possible.

As for the cost to connect the road, Delavan said the entities "haven't got that far yet," but a state grant is allowing them to study the best route to connect the road.

Delavan brought the ITD board up to speed on other items, like the completion of the airport's master plan, and a new grant to rehabilitate Runway 1/19 and the Taxiway Delta.

The ITD board's tour on Wednesday also included a visit with the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce and dropping by project sites along U.S. 95.

Board Chair Jerry Whitehead said the tour was intended to give members perspective on the region's transportation.

The Boise resident applauded the Interstate 90, Beck Road interchange, eligible for the State Tax Anticipated Revenue legislation to provide transportation funding.

"We saw in action what the STAR legislation could do for us," Whitehead said.

He lauded other transportation projects in the area.

"North Idaho has done very well transportation wise, compared to the rest of the state," Whitehead said. "It's just difficult terrain to deal with."

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