Sunday, February 12, 2017
Should the closed section of Warm Springs Avenue below the Warm Springs Mesa be closed permanently? Weather creates inverted speed bump on Jefferson Street between 5th and 6th streets in Boise
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Dear Road Wizard: Has there been a cost/benefit analysis to determine if the closed section of Warm Springs Avenue is necessary or cost-effective to maintain? How much money has this cost over the last few years? Now that Parkcenter Boulevard and the East Parkcenter Bridge is available for residents east of the Warm Springs Mesa to access downtown Boise, we should reconsider any decision to reopen this section of road. In recent years, we have seen increased maintenance required for sliding earth and falling rocks. The solution has been to remove rocks and scrape more earth back but there is no vegetation in place so it continues to deteriorate. We should consider leaving it closed. Sherry
Before the mass influx of new homes in the Barber Valley, there were discussions about widening Warm Springs Avenue, including the closed section under the Warm Springs Mesa, to handle the additional traffic. Reaction to the suggestion from residents along the historic road was lukewarm at best.
The difficulty and cost of maintaining the road also worked against the idea. Warm Springs runs along the base of the massive Mesa, and the steep hillside is subject to erosion.
Falling rocks (including a 50-ton boulder two years ago) has long been an issue and is part of ACHD’s maintenance routine. This is especially true when rocks fall during winter’s freeze-and-thaw cycles.
The weeks-long closure of Warm Springs between Windsong Drive and Starview Drive because of loosened rocks showcases the challenge of keeping the road safe. Starview was also closed from Warm Springs up to the Mesa this season. Imagine if this all happened in a world where the East Parkcenter Bridge was never built.
The bridge allows for the option of closing the closed part of Warm Springs permanently, but that would not happen until much research could be conducted and only after a big-time public involvement process was completed.
Right now ACHD is conducting a cost/benefit analysis of maintaining Warm Springs with help from a local geotechnical firm. Slope stability, travel demand and safety issues are all being examined to help decide the future of the road and when it might reopen. Specifics on costs and long-term options should be ready by the end of March.
Warm Springs remains closed for safety reasons, but this week Starview reopened because the slope there had stabilized. Additionally, ACHD installed concrete guardrails to better block rocks from reaching Starview. This will greatly benefit Mesa residents who were unable to travel east in order to reach the handy East Parkcenter Bridge during the Starview closure.
Dear Road Wizard: On Jefferson Street in Boise between 5th Street and 6th Street there is what looks like an inverted speed bump all the way across the road. It looks like it just sprung up in the last week. I take Jefferson to and from work. It’s a very uniform indention and if I didn't take that road every day, I might think it was supposed to be there. Anonymous
This wrong-side-up bump was an asphalt-covered trench that succumbed to heavy moisture after the record-breaking snowfall. It settled more than it should have after a water line was installed a while back.
A bump sign was posted to warn drivers of the apparition, and a fix will come along with warmer weather.