ITD & McCall get $2.9M grant for corridor design

ITD and the city of McCall were recently awarded a RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) grant of $2.9M for the SH-55 and Deinhard/Boydstun corridor design to address improvements that will create a more efficient intrastate highway system for travelers. and create affordable multi-modal transportation options. Project planning is expected to begin in 2024/25. The picture above shows pedestrians navigating a portion of the existing SH-55 corridor that lacks sidewalks.

The RAISE grant program supports communities of all sizes as part of the President’s Investing in America agenda.

ITD applied for the grant on February 17 and received word from the Federal Highway Administration on June 28 that the grant had been awarded.

“ITD District 3 looks forward to working with the city of McCall to enhance quality of life through transportation,” said D3 District Engineer Caleb Lakey.

The project will specifically address reduction of energy consumption, air and water quality improvement, greenhouse gases reduction, increased safety, support for local and regional commerce, and the promotion of public health. The picture to the right shows how the lack of adequate drainage facilities during periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt causes flooding that compromises water quality and safety.

Safety will be paramount, as the project focuses on the SH-55 route through town that was home to 84 crashes from 2017-2021 due to conflicts between heavy trucks navigating a tight 90-degree corner and pedestrians crossing the road to access lakeside destinations. Property damage was the most frequent result of these crashes, which also included a pair of serious, incapacitating injuries. The proposed alternate route had just 27 incidents within that same five-year timeframe, none of which involved fatalities or pedestrians. Pictured at left is an exhibit from the 2021 Corridor Exchange Feasibility Study illustrates the tight turn radius of the existing SH-55 route in downtown McCall.

“This project will include study and planning of strategies and infrastructure improvements needed to improve safety for all transportation types, whether McCall is a final destination or users are just passing through,” the application states.

It also would protect Payette Lake, McCall’s sole source of drinking water and a primary tourist attraction, against the transport of hazardous materials by re-routing those trucks away from the downtown corridor and lakefront. This is especially important because increased mining in the southwest corner of Valley County is estimated to increase by 52-66 trips per day the number of loads rolling past the lake containing HazMat.

The project improves mobility and community connectivity, energy efficiency, quality of life, environmental considerations, and even benefits to housing affordability through development of transportation options geared toward a workforce largely located outside the town.

Identification of appropriate locations for EV charging stations also will be considered as part of the project.

It is the result of a close working partnership between ITD and the city of McCall that works collaboratively toward shared goals of providing a safe and efficient highway route for freight and intrastate traffic while providing safe and effective multi-modal transportation options in the McCall downtown core.

The project also aligns with Valley County’s vision for regional transportation, and dovetails with the city’s “Access McCall” and “Complete Streets” principles.