New study taking broader look at Huetter Bypass, traffic flow in CDA area

Development encroaches on Huetter Road and surrounding farmland

A new study is now underway to take a broader look at the Huetter Bypass and traffic flow in the Coeur d’Alene metro area.

“With the rapid growth in the area causing a huge increase in traffic, our existing routes are experiencing low levels of service, and drivers don’t have quick ways to get around,” said Joey Sprague, who will manage the study for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). “With this study we’ll look at the way the local and state routes in the area work as a system, and that starts by evaluating the work that’s already been done so that we can chart a path forward.”

The first phase of the study will review work previously done by the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization on the idea to expand Huetter Road to serve as another north-south freeway connecting I-90 and U.S. Highway 95 north of Hayden.

The study is expected to encompass a larger area between I-90, US-95, State Highway 53 and State Highway 41 to identify the pain points and how to address them given growth in the area. Solutions may include a range of options, like modifying existing routes or building new ones.

“Right now it’s about understanding regional traffic and how it interplays with the original Huetter corridor study, especially since some studies are dated,” Sprague said. “For this first phase of the study, we’re just gathering data. In future phases of the study, we’ll let the data point to options including and beyond the bypass, and once we have vetted some of those ideas, we’ll ask the public to weigh in.”

ITD officially took over planning for the bypass in October and is managing the latest study being conducted by HDR, Inc.

“It took more time than expected to determine the scope of the study and hire a company to do the work, but the study will now officially kick off this month,” Sprague said. “We expect to have more information available on it later this summer.”