Historic Oregon Trail route added to back country system
The Idaho Transportation Board approved the addition of another historic route to Idaho’s back country byway system when it met last week in Boise. The Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway will focus attention on an Idaho segment of the Oregon Trail that led to settlement of the Northwest.
The Main Oregon Trail Back Country Byway is a 102-mile route that begins at Three Island Crossing State Park in Glenns Ferry and travels northwesterly along a route that parallels the Old Oregon Trail. It ends north of I-84 by the Blacks Creek Interchange east of Boise.
The proposal indicated that some of the finest remnants of the Oregon Trail within Idaho lie along the newly designated back country byway. A number of historically significant sites and locations still offer history lessons for the curious – travelers can view or hike the ruts that remain visible after more than 150 years.
Numerous points of interest lie along the route. In addition to the actual trail ruts, there are historical museums and interpretive centers to enhance the learning experience of travelers.
The proposal received extensive support, including from ITD’s Districts 3 and 4.
The goals of the Idaho Scenic Byways Program are to:
Nurture an appreciation of Idaho's heritage through the preservation, protection and enhancement of the state's scenic, cultural, historic, archeological, recreational or natural qualities; and
Promote and enhance tourism on designated Idaho highways, roads and trails
Other Transportation Board discussion
Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) Members
The transportation board re-appointed two PTAC members to the council. Jim Diffenbaugh and Joe Herring will continue to represent districts 1 and 4, respectively. Their new terms will expire in June 2012.
During their past terms, both council members dedicated significant time and energy to Idaho’s Mobility and Access Pathway initiative, leading to its successful introduction and improving mobility options in Idaho.
The PTAC was created to advise the ITD on issues and policies regarding public transportation. The council is composed of six members, one from each district, appointed by the board.
Delegation – City of Meridian
Meridian Mayor Tammy de Weerd encouraged the board to fund the replacement of the I-84/Meridian Road Interchange with savings from GARVEE projects. She believes reconstructing the interchange will improve safety, reduce congestion, remove a structurally deficient bridge, foster economic development and alleviate a choke point on I-84.
The board acknowledged the need to replace this structure; however, it also emphasized that there are many needs throughout the state. If funding is available because of savings from GARVEE or federal stimulus-funded projects, additional projects will need to be prioritized.
District 3 tour
Board members visited the Caldwell Airport as part of the June 19 district tour. The facility is the second-busiest airport in the state. To address the growing aviation activity, a number of improvements have been made or are planned, including a new terminal that is under construction.
The board also traveled local routes south of Boise. A local initiative is under way to prepare for continued growth that is expected to occur in the area. Ada and Canyon county officials are identifying a corridor to establish an arterial to safely and efficiently move traffic in the Kuna-Mora and Bowmont Road corridors. Options to connect the Ada (Kuna-Mora Road) and Canyon (Bowmont Road) routes have been narrowed to three.