I am writing to raise awareness of the danger of the intersection of Highway 75 and Ohio Gulch Road, just north of Hailey. Judging by the amount of broken glass on the road, car crashes are frequent there. The traffic is so heavy that this intersection needs either a stop light or a roundabout.
The traffic, though worse at rush hour, is bad at all times of day. I have seen as many as eight vehicles lined up trying to pull out of Ohio Gulch. The long wait time makes drivers impatient and they take risks, pulling out into rapidly moving traffic.
This is complicated by the number of large trucks going to the transfer station and the speed of the traffic. Semis hauling trash and recyclables, as well as landscaping and construction vehicles dropping off materials, all need more time to stop and to get up to speed. The speed limit there is 55 mph, which means that most vehicles are going 60. To get up to that speed from a standstill takes a while, longer for some trucks than for cars. This means larger gaps between vehicles are required for safety.
The fact that there are multiple lanes there further compounds the problem. It is not easy to tell which lane an oncoming car is in. I regularly see drivers use the center turn lanes as merge lanes to get up to speed to join the traffic. That is going to end in disaster.
The heavy traffic means there are few gaps to merge into the traffic, which results in long backups on the side roads, which makes drivers impatient, which makes them take risks. It is just a matter of time before there is a serious accident at this intersection.
ITD should not wait for this but instead should install either a traffic light or a roundabout. Both would improve safety, but a roundabout would have the added advantage of not bringing north- and southbound traffic to a halt.
As a resident of Starweather who has waited at this intersection and seen the risks that frustrated people take, I encourage ITD to act immediately.
Elise Lufkin, Blaine County