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Boise Hunter Homes to request second traffic light into Dry Creek Ranch

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A new traffic light could be coming to Idaho Highway 55. 

Boise Hunter Homes is in the process of applying to build a new traffic light at the intersection of the state highway and Dry Creek Road, pushing traffic in and out of the planned community Dry Creek Ranch. The light would add to the existing signal at Brookside Lane that currently serves as the main entrance into the development. 

[Top ITD official skeptical of unconventional intersection on Eagle Road before public input poured in]

Travis Hunter, a co-owner of Boise Hunter Homes, said the homebuilder has always hoped for a traffic light at the intersection to help the flow of traffic as the subdivision grows and to boost commercial retail along the highway. If the Idaho Department of Transportation gives the go-ahead on the light, he said Boise Hunter Homes would pay for the improved intersection in full. 

“Between Cartwright Ranch, Hidden Springs, and Dry Creek Ranch, approximately 3000 homes will access Hwy 55 from Dry Creek Road, and Highway 55 is a high-speed road,” he wrote in an email to BoiseDev asking about the signal. “Other meaningful reasons include rerouting arterial traffic out of the center of our neighborhood, and bringing viability to the commercial component of our community, which Planned Communities are designed and approved to incorporate.”

ITD spokesman Jillian Garrigues said the idea will be considered. Boise Hunter Homes is in the process now of completing an updated traffic study to accompany its application.

“We’re always open to discussions and analyzing other options. Any improvements and intersection changes should coordinate with long-range plans of our partnering agencies and most importantly, create the safest environment for drivers and road users.

A rocky start before high demand 

Dry Creek Ranch dominated headlines several years ago as it was going through the approval process for the 1,800 home community.

The project was originally planned in the years leading up to the Great Recession at a time when Ada County was courting developers to build planned communities in unincorporated areas. Dry Creek Ranch was originally supposed to have over 4,000 homes, but the Great Recession bursting the real estate bubble stopped the project in its tracks, according to the Idaho Statesman

A home in Dry Creek Ranch. Photo: Margaret Carmel/BoiseDev

Boise Hunter Homes stepped in to buy the project and scale it down in late 2016 and eventually started earning approvals for its plans in 2017 onwards. The project was heavily opposed by some activists concerned about the loss of natural habitat in the Boise foothills and the conversation of farmland into housing. A group called Save Dry Creek Ranch aimed to gather 40,000 signatures to put a ballot measure before voters to stop the project in 2018, but they fell short of their goal, the Idaho Press reported. 

Since then, the project steamed ahead and its foothills views, equestrian facility, large lots and community farm proved popular with prospective buyers and the development hasn’t hit the headlines. 

Traffic light could lure commercial development

Boise Hunter Homes proposed the idea of a traffic light or roundabout at Dry Creek Road and studied the idea in its initial traffic study in 2016, but ITD opted to only put a signal at Brookside for the main neighborhood entrance. Dry Creek Road is currently a traditional intersection allowing drivers to turn left onto Highway 55. Instead of a light, ITD recommended it be improved to a right-in, right-out style intersection once the traffic counts were high enough.

This light is near the portion of Dry Creek Ranch zoned for 85,000 square feet of commercial space, which could include a shopping center with a grocery store, a gas station, restaurants and specialty retail. Ada County spokesperson Brianna Bustos said Boise Hunter Homes anticipates building out its commercial and village areas between 2025 and 2032 as more homes are built to support the shopping areas. 

She said the lack of a light at the intersection isn’t standing in the way of zoning approval, but the access concern could deter businesses from opening there. 

“It is not foreseen that the addition of a traffic light would have any affect on the envisioned zoning intensity in the area, but more so may enable the developer to attract different business.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the type of intersection currently at Dry Creek Road. It has been corrected to reflect that the intersection is currently a traditional intersection where left turns are allowed.

BoiseDev Project Tracker
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev Sr. Reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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