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‘Near crisis’: Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig calls for study of Idaho State Highway 55

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BOISE (Idaho Capital Sun) — Citing an increase in traffic and car crashes, former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig and an Idaho legislator are teaming up to ask the Idaho Legislature to approve a study of traffic on State Highway 55. 
Craig, R-Idaho, and state Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, asked the House Transportation and Defense Committee on Thursday to approve House Concurrent Resolution 24. The concurrent resolution calls for the Legislative Council to appoint a committee to study State Highway 55, State Highway 16, State Highway 95 and consider potential alternative routes to connect Central Idaho with the Treasure Valley.
Craig, who represented Idaho in the U.S. Senate from 1991 to 2009, told legislators State Highway 55 was intended to be a scenic byway, running north of the Treasure Valley, following the Payette River to Cascade, McCall and the rest of Valley County. 
But as Idaho experienced rapid population growth over the past 10 years, the winding two-lane State Highway 55 became more congested and dangerous, to the point it has become a near crisis, Craig said.
“It is the No. 1 most dangerous highway in our state right now and the one that has the greatest difficulty,” Craig told legislators. 
From 2018 to 2022, there were 900 crashes and 25 fatalities on State Highway 55, according to the concurrent resolution. 
While speaking in favor of the study and the need for an alternative route to State Highway 55, Craig cited the August 2023 bus crash along State Highway 55 that injured 11 teenagers participating in a local YMCA summer program.  
“It was a reminder to me of the reality of a problem that we must face,” Craig told legislators. 
Craig urged legislators to approve the concurrent resolution and consider an alternative route to State Highway 55.
“To divert, if we can, the commercial and heavy traffic off of it and return it to a scenic byway, that’s what it deserves to be and that is what I think all of us would like it to be,” Craig said. 
On Thursday, the House Transportation and Defense Committee voted to send the concurrent resolution to the floor of the Idaho House of Representatives with a recommendation to pass it.
If the Idaho House passes House Concurrent Resolution 24, it will be sent to the Idaho Senate for consideration.
If the Idaho House and Idaho Senate both pass House Concurrent Resolution 24, the committee would report its findings and any recommendations to the Idaho Legislature next year.
The post ‘Near crisis’: Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig calls for study of Idaho State Highway 55 appeared first on East Idaho News.

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