The city of Moscow will apply for grant money that, if received, would fund the construction of a roundabout at the intersection of West A and Baker streets and enhance safety for vehicles and pedestrians.
Moscow Senior Engineering Technician Nate Suhr presented the concept to the Moscow Transportation Commission Thursday at City Hall. The commission unanimously supported the grant application for the project.
The grant funding would come from Idaho’s Local Highway Safety Improvement Program, which Suhr described as essentially federal money made available to local jurisdictions for safety projects.
Moscow has received LHSIP grants in the past, including for the coming Third and Sixth streets safety improvement projects.
The estimated cost of the A-Baker intersection project is $750,000 to $800,000. The grant would fund 92.66 percent of the project, meaning the local match would need to cover the remaining $55,000 to $59,000 of the project. The project would be constructed in 2023.
LHSIP prioritizes disabling injury accidents, or Class A accidents, and fatal accidents.
Suhr said two disabling injury accidents involving pedestrians have occurred at the A-Baker intersection in the past five years. The intersection is on the northwest side of town amid a dense University of Idaho student population. No fatalities have occurred.
He said the intersection represents less than 1 percent of total crashes in the city, almost 7.5 percent of disabling injury crashes and more than 8.5 percent of pedestrian crashes.
Suhr said a cost-benefit analysis determines which projects are approved for grant funding.
“It’s on the low side of what we see funded but it’s definitely within that fundable range,” Suhr said.
The application is due Thursday.
The intersection receives heavy pedestrian traffic largely because of students traveling to and from campus and is also highly traveled by vehicles.
The design concept includes a roundabout in the center of the intersection and a splitter island, or raised traffic island that separates traffic in opposing directions of travel, on all four sides of the intersection.
The splitter islands would narrow the lanes and slow traffic, especially speeding vehicles coming down the A Street hill from both directions.
“It’s down(hill) on both directions and it’s wide and people just blow through there,” Suhr said.
Suhr said the islands would be wide enough to serve as pedestrian refuge islands, so pedestrians would only be exposed in a crosswalk for as much as 12 feet before they reached the island, or essentially the middle of the street. The islands would eliminate some on-street parking.
Sidewalks on the edges of the roundabout and green strips or potentially tree lawns would also be installed, Suhr said.
Garrett Cabeza can be reached at (208) 883-4631, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.