Ada County Highway District

ACHD's Road Wizard Sunday, January 27, 2019 ACHD's Road Wizard

Fabric fencing material blocking the view of oncoming traffic at 10th and Main streets in downtown Boise; lack of funding means Old Penitentiary Road will still be bumpy; construction office trailer parked across Corporate Drive in Meridian

The Road Wizard Replies

Dear Road Wizard: Northbound on 10th Street in downtown Boise, trying to make a right-on-red turn onto Main Street is extremely dangerous due to the construction fence at the corner of 10th and Main. Why do they put fabric on construction fences, especially right there, when it completely obstructs the view? Isn't that a city code violation? I think there should be a "no right on red" sign as long as the view up Main is obstructed.


Road Wizard:

Blocking the view is actually the primary purpose of the fence fabric. While a chain link fence keeps people safely away from the construction, adding the fabric keeps drivers from being distracted by construction-related activities. The fabric also helps contain any debris kicked up by the work.

ACHD will sometimes ask that this type of fabric be removed when the fabric alone is causing sight distance problems, but at 10th and Main, that wouldn't really help. There are construction materials behind the fence which fill up the closed travel lane and are tough to see around.

The fence is expected to be in place through February, but ACHD doesn't generally add temporary "no right on red" signs in these instances. Conditions change so often that it is difficult to coordinate the sign placement and removal.

Judging the safety of a right-on-red turn is up to drivers. If the turn on red doesn't feel comfortable, waiting for the green light is often the best option, construction-fabric curtains closed.

Dear Road Wizard: I believe Old Penitentiary Road is the worst paved road in Ada County. With all of the state and federal offices and the Idaho Botanical Garden concerts, isn't there some way money can be raised to fix this dangerous eyesore? I would contribute to a bake sale, if necessary.


Road Wizard:

Will you please bring cinnamon rolls made from scratch?

In all seriousness, this road is more than a bit scratched up and is currently owned and maintained by the State of Idaho. The plan is for the State to fix it, then sign it off to ACHD, which will then assume maintenance responsibilities.

There was an effort to get this started last year, but contractor bids for the project came in too high. Now the State is unsure whether funding will be available for the project this year.

Dear Road Wizard: I enjoy your column. Why was permission given for a construction office trailer to park across Corporate Drive in Meridian? It is blocking access for westbound travel to all of us that work on 5th Avenue, causing everyone to jump through hoops by taking another route. We don't like it.


Road Wizard:

ACHD will occasionally allow construction companies to park things like storage containers or trash bins on public streets adjacent to building sites. But they need to apply for a permit and appropriate traffic control is required. Usually lane closures aren't necessary.

It may seem like the contractor on Corporate Drive is breaking the rules, but the situation is different. This section of Corporate is a new road improvement that was required as a condition of the Rainier Villas development. The project isn't done yet, and the road isn't actually open to non-construction related traffic, so the office trailer is allowed to sit there. When everything is done, ACHD will take over and open the road.

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