ITD seeking comments on Highway 41 expansion

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COEUR d’ALENE — The Idaho Transportation Department wants to hear from members of the public about a planned expansion of Highway 41 from Prairie Avenue to Boekel Road.

A public hearing will be held Jan. 25 from 4 to 7 p.m. at ITD’s Coeur d’Alene office, 600 W. Prairie Ave.

The $25 million project from Prairie Avenue to Boekel Road is part of a larger project that aims to safely accommodate the projected growth of the region by transforming Highway 41 into a divided four-lane highway from Post Falls to Rathdrum.

“The improved highway will serve as a safer and more efficient north-south route to I-90,” project manager John Vaudreuil said, in a news release. “Expanding ID-41 will enhance safety, improve mobility and promote economic development in the area.”

The public hearing will focus solely on the proposed changes, which are also featured on the project website at http://arcg.is/0P9aau. Improvements for this 4-mile section of the highway will take two years to build, with construction beginning in 2020.

Besides expanding the highway to four lanes separated by a grassy median, the project will replace the signal at Hayden Avenue and add signals and turn lanes at Lancaster Road and Nagel Lane, Vaudreuil said.

Other features of the project include safety improvements near railroads and the possible addition of pedestrian facilities in the corridor.

To enhance safety at the railroad crossing between Hayden Avenue and Wyoming Avenue, ITD will construct a grade separation so the highway will pass over, rather than intersect, the crossing to reduce the risk of collisions. ITD is also working with the Union Pacific Railroad to remove the crossing between Prairie Avenue and Hayden Avenue, Vaudreuil said.

ITD is evaluating the feasibility of installing a pedestrian underpass near Nagel Lane. The underpass would facilitate foot traffic across the highway, Vaudreuil said.

Should the county or nearby cities of Post Falls or Rathdrum agree to maintain it, ITD would construct a multi-use pathway along the east side of the highway to connect the two cities.

Those who cannot attend the public hearing can visit the project website to learn more and to comment. Comments will be collected from Jan. 25 to Feb. 8.

The ITD news release said engineers will strive to incorporate feedback from meetings and from online comments into the design of the project. Vaudreuil said previous comments from public meetings and contact with property owners adjacent to the project suggested a preference for an expanded, median-divided highway and wide signalized intersections, rather than roundabouts, to accommodate U-turns.

“Public comment is critical to the project’s design and helps us deliver the best possible project to our users,” Vaudreuil said.

This is part of a larger reconstruction project to improve Highway 41 from Mullan Avenue in Post Falls to Boekel Road in Rathdrum.

ITD held a hearing in November and accepted public comments on plans to convert Hwy 41 into a divided, four-lane highway from Mullan to Prairie avenues in Post Falls.

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