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New Developments: Ramsey overpass replaces deadly Panhandle RR crossing

Ramsey overpass replaces deadly Panhandle RR crossing

Photo of the ribbon cutters at the Ramsey RR overpass opening ceremony

The Ramsey railroad overpass ribbon cutters, from left to right: Monty Montgomery, Lakes Highway District (LHD); David Suhr, David Evans and Associates Construction (DEAC); Felicia Cassidy, DEAC; Donna Montgomery, Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC); Megan Kautz, LHTAC; Rod Twete, LHD; Thomas Haroldsen, LaRiviere Inc.; Brendan Mathews, LaRiviere Inc., and Eric Shanley. LHD. Photo courtesy of LHTAC

The Lakes Highway District (LHD) and the Idaho Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) held a ribbon cutting for the opening of the Ramsey Road railroad overpass, which removed one of the most dangerous at-level railroad crossings in the Panhandle at Ramsey and W. Diagonal Roads, north of the Coeur d’Alene Airport. The project design began in 2017. Construction began in July of 2020 and was complete in October of 2021.

The overpass has four spans totaling 440 feet. This project was deemed essential due to increased traffic on the route and because of planned BNSF railroad track expansion. The intersection has also been a magnet for collisions, including a fatality in 2013.The overpass is along the connection route between State Highways 53 and 54 and a future connection at Interstate 90. The LHD project was funded through LHTAC and the Rail Protection Grant and Federal-aid Rural and Safety programs.

Mountain View opens expanded neonatal unit

Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls announced the opening of its expanded neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on Nov. 4. The facility can now care for up to 14 babies who are as young as 28 weeks. The new unit features expanded space and services for parents, which its old unit lacked. The hospital’s previous neonatal capacity was five babies as young as 35 weeks.

The new NICU took one year to build. It started taking new patients in mid-October. Eastern Idaho’s other three Acute Care Hospitals — Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls and Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg — also have NICUs.

$10 lease for affordable housing in Ketchum

The Ketchum City Council considered a draft lease for the Bluebird Village workforce housing development on Nov. 1. A vote on the lease could come as early as Nov. 18. The terms of the lease are $10 annually for 65 years. City Administrator Jade Riley told city council members at the meeting that they must also decide if the project must stay as deed-restricted affordable housing for the entire lease term, the amount of insurance the development owners must provide and the operating terms for the ground floor retail/commercial spaces.

“The importance of this lease cannot be overstated,” Ketchum Mayor Neil Bradshaw told the Idaho Mountain Express.

The property being leased is the site of Ketchum’s former City Hall. In its place, the development partnership of GMD Development of Seattle and the Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC) will build the 51-unit Bluebird Village. The development is in the heart of downtown Ketchum.

The project is being partially financed through federal tax credits which require the deed restriction that the housing must stay within the guidelines for affordable housing for 45 years. The KCDC will be the owner of the complex after the first 15 years of operation.

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