There’s a total of four alternatives for the project: E-2, C-3, W-4, or the simple, do-nothing approach. But the debate about the project really comes down to one question: whether you’re for or against the E-2 alternative.
“Why?" said E-2 opposer Mary Ullrich. "Why this trail of insistence on pursuing the most environmentally disruptive alignment.”
The environmentalists spoke early and often at the hearing, saying that eastern alternative, E-2, would bring a large highway too close to Paradise Ridge.
“I encourage the ITD to look at another route other than E-2 so we can leave this incredibly valuable ecosystem to our children, our grandchildren, and future generations,” said E-2 opposer Pamela Brumsfeld.
Opposers of E-2 also had a problem with the Idaho Transportation Department’s weather safety analysis.
“Seems severely flawed," said E-2 opposer Zachary Johnson. "They’re only looking at five months during a year in which it was quite abnormal, much warmer than normal, much less precipitation.”
However, E-2 is the preferred alternative of the Idaho Transportation Department. They said it’s the safest, and the Federal Highway Administration has already approved it. Del Hungerford lives along the proposed E-2 path, and she came to show her support for the safest route.
“And if that includes losing my home, fine," said E-2 supporter Del Hungerford. "Because I know a lot of people who have died on Riesenauer Hill.”
One thing that most of the speakers agreed on is that no matter which route is chosen, something needs to be done to make this six and a half mile stretch of 95 safer for drivers.
“Ten years they’ve been messing around with it, and you know, deaths are happening on the old route," said E-2 supporter Jim Anderson.
Construction on the project will start in the summer of 2015, and they plan to have it complete by the end of 2016.