"Sparks flew," according to this morning's Lewiston Tribune, at a Wednesday session in Moscow, where officials with the Idaho Transportation Department mapped out several options to realign a stretch of U.S. Highway 95 in north-central Idaho.
In particular, ITD wants to reroute U.S. 95 over the western flank of Paradise Ridge near Moscow, "in the latest phase in a decade-long quest to finish expanding the highway between Moscow and Lewiston to four divided lanes," according to the Tribune.
Transportation officials pointed to a study which indicated that if they did not expand the stretch of highway, as many as 24.8 automobile crashes would occur per year, resulting in more than 10 annual fatalities. ITD analysis showed that a new eastern route would have 7.7 crashes per year, a central option would have 10.9 crashes and a western option would have 9.3 crashes.
The Tribune reports that several dozen attendees shouted down one Moscow resident, Jim Macdonald, who accused the ITD of being a "handmaiden for industry" by opting for the easternmost route, which Macdonald claimed was a concession to the trucking industry because the route would be the shortest and straightest.