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Up and over: Pedestrian overpass considered for State St.

Regence Blue Shield of Idaho

The Eagle City Council will consider a project to build a large new pedestrian overpass during its meeting Tuesday.

The project could add a new crossing for walkers, runners, and cyclists over State St. near Reid Merrill Park, just to the east of Eagle Rd.

In coming years, State St. will see a number of changes along many different segments – the Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (which calls itself COMPASS) IDs it as a key “eastwest transit connection.” But in a report prepared for the City of Eagle by The Land Group, the high-volume traffic presents challenges for other modes of transit and threatens to slice Eagle in half.

[The future state of State St.: Plan would remake key Boise route in decades to come]

“(State St. creates) a barrier to non-vehicular circulation, effectively separating businesses, schools, and residential areas north of Highway 44 from developments and neighborhoods to the south,” report writers noted. “The improvement of State Highway 44 offers a
great opportunity for strengthening the region’s connection. However, it is crucial to consider Eagle’s local character and historical use.”

Elevator overpass concept

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The report looked at both overpass and underpass options. It found the underpass idea not workable and focused on three ideas for overpasses. The recommended would include stairs on each side of State St., as well as elevators for those unable to use the stairs.

Of the four concepts, the preferred option in The Land Group report is the only one rated “extremely high” for ongoing maintenance cost. It also is the most expensive overpass option, ringing in at an estimated $11.3 million. The least expensive overpass option totals $7.6 million. The preferred elevator option also scored “moderate” for user experience, versus high for the other two overpass concepts.

The elevator concept scored highly in other areas, including total land needed, visual obstruction and the elimination of ramps. Stairs would be fitted with “runnels” to make it easier to bring cycles up and down.

If the Eagle City Council signs off on the pre-concept report, it will go out for public input next spring. Then, the city would attempt to find grants and other funding sources in 2021. Design would take place in 2022 and construction could start in 2024.

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