Comments sought on Highway 53 study

Study seeks to address safety, congestion, capacity issues in corridor

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COEUR d'ALENE - Comments on the state's draft Highway 53 access study are being sought through Dec. 24.

The Idaho Transportation Department's study is of the highway's corridor from the Washington state line, through Rathdrum and to the U.S. 95 junction.

"The study focuses on access management strategies ... as a means to balance safety, system capacity and efficient use of highway funds with property owners' access needs," said Don Davis, ITD senior transportation planner.

The study is available at ITD's office at 600 W. Prairie Ave., Coeur d'Alene, and at https://itd.idaho.gov/Projects/D1/SH_53AccessManagementStudy/default.asp.

The study seeks to address safety, congestion and capacity issues along the corridor, but does not give project cost estimates or a timeline for improvements. Projects will be pursued as funding and development arise, Davis said.

There were 232 crashes in the corridor between 2007 to 2011, including one fatality and 90 injury-related accidents, according to ITD.

Crash "hot spots" identified in the study include intersections at Prairie Avenue and Pleasant View, Meyer and Ramsey roads.

Possible solutions include: developing roads parallel to Highway 53 so local traffic doesn't have to use the busy stretch, combining driveways of adjacent lots or businesses, gaining easements between adjacent lots so traffic doesn't have to use Highway 53, installing continuous left-turn lanes and modifying or eliminating public roads as access points.

Solutions could be implemented through land-use permits and future highway projects, Davis said.

The $149,000 study was conducted by consultant David Evans and Associates.

The goal is to develop and adopt access plans jointly with Kootenai County and the cities of Hauser and Rathdrum.

"At this point in the process we do not know which study recommendations may be included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program," Davis said.

An open house was earlier held on the study.

For more information, contact Davis at 772-8019 or Lisa Key, David Evans and Associates, at 762-2200.

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