It doesn't happen often in our area, but everyone in the Treasure Valley feels the pain when an incident occurs. An accident on I-84 this week caused the eastbound lanes to be closed for several hours when most folks were trying to get home from a long work day. Thankfully, no one was injured, although the interstate had to be closed to allow the cleanup crews to remove the debris and clean the massive amounts of diesel fuel.

Idaho has grown significantly in the last ten years. Once congestion, delays, and more delays have replaced spacious highways, roomy county roads, and quick commutes. Politicians say the growth happened too fast as developers-built subdivision after subdivision to provide homes for the millions of Americans moving to Idaho.

Traffic jam with rows of cars
Credit: Aleksandra Glustsenko

The challenge and growing safety issue is that there are no alternate routes when there is a significant accident on the highway. Our area needs an outer loop that would allow large, massive trucks, trucks hauling windmill parts, nuclear fuel rods, and other items to avoid the commuter traffic between Ontario and Mountain Home. Although, I believe most of us would gladly welcome an outer loop from Caldwell to Boise.

Credit: David McNew, Getty Images

When the highway is closed, the problem rapidly moves to the side streets and overcrowded county roads. The additional vehicles had to be delayed due to the lanes being closed. If someone requires medical attention or needs to get to a hospital quickly, the lack of adequate roads and streets could be tragic.

Our politicians tell us that building an outer loop is too expensive; we say it's too costly to avoid creating it.

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