BONNERS FERRY — Highway 95, on the South Hill, has been problematic for drivers. The new construction combined with faded lines is causing trouble, and even some near misses, according to local drivers.
People coming through that area may not be aware of the new layout that was completed last year, and are either using the new merge lane for drivers turning south from Ash Street as a second lane, or assuming that it is one lane entirely. Either way, it is causing trouble.
“If somebody is from Canada and have been down here before, they think there is two lanes going both directions, so they will pass there all day long,” said Bonners Ferry Police Chief Brian Zimmerman. “If we get the lane painted, then it is enforceable and we can start looking at it.”
The extra lane is intended to be solely for traffic to pull safely out of Ash Street onto the highway, heading south.
“The main idea behind acceleration lanes like the ones at Ash Street are to give drivers a safer opportunity to get up to speed when turning onto a highway and merging with fast-moving vehicles,” said Megan Sausser, Idaho Transportation Department public information specialist. “Because acceleration lanes give drivers extra time and space to merge, they don’t have to wait for as big of a gap in traffic to turn onto the highway.”
Once the lines are painted, the area should be safer for drivers. According to Sausser, the area will be addressed either this week or next week depending on weather and the crews’ availability. Until that time, local drivers should be aware of the possible confusion and drive with caution in the area.