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Ponderay group wants transportation planning

By Lucy Dukes
Bonner County Daily Bee

PONDERAY – The Ponderay Community Development Corporation board has decided to ask city officials to make transportation planning a part of the city's comprehensive plan.

A connector road to improve traffic circulation at the south end of the business triangle will be part of the requested transportation plan.

PCDC is also willing to work with the city to form that plan, said board president Steve Brooks.

"The Ponderay Community Development Corporation absolutely is going to support it," said member Susan Kiebert, who presented the idea to the PCDC board on last week.

"We really need this (connector) road. We needed it five years ago," she said.

PCDC as a group will discuss the idea of a transportation plan at the next full meeting, scheduled for Thursday next week at noon in the old On Cue spot in Bonner Mall.

The group will also be coming forward with a more definitive connector road proposal for the city at a later date.

PCDC wants to help in infrastructure development, said Brooks. The group wants the city to look at the far-reaching effects of road enhancements.

"I am supportive of a transportation plan," said Mayor Jessie DeMers.

The city has marked down the roads it needs, she said, but needs to look at transportation planning.

PCDC took the lead in pushing for the connector road in February, after business owners requested and it become a priority for the city.

Expansion of Highway 95, set to begin soon, will prevent left turns from Tibbetts Road. Tibbetts Road accesses businesses on both Tibbetts and Fontaine Drive at the south end of Ponderay's business triangle.

The south triangle commercial area, whose boundaries are drawn by Highway 95, State Highway 200 and Kootenai Cutoff Road, had historically been accessed by the former Diamond Railroad crossing.

That crossing, which closed in October 2000, was located at the south end of Fontaine Drive. After the crossing closed, traffic access to Tibbetts Road and Fontaine at Bonner Mall Way became limited.

DeMers is attempting to get the crossing reopened until a connector road can be built. She has written letters to various officials at Union Pacific Railroad asking them for the crossing to be temporarily reopened.

"To me, it was worth the stamp and paper to try," she said.

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