June 1, 2010
To: Butch Otter, Governor of Idaho
From: Linwood Laughy and Borg Hendrickson, Kooskia, Idaho
Re: The Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road, U.S. Highway 12
We are long-time residents of the upper Clearwater River Valley, have owned property adjacent to U.S. Highway 12 for 45 years and live within a literal stone’s throw of the highway. We are also local business owners whose three businesses both directly and indirectly involve tourists.
We note that the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, in their rules regarding scenic byways, speak to a corridor management plan that:
The NWPSB Corridor Management Plan itself lists the two highest priorities of the plan as “ensuring the public safety while maintaining the intrinsic qualities of the byway.”
We further note that the State of Idaho has the specific responsibility to see that the NWPSB Corridor Management Plan is implemented and the public safety and intrinsic qualities of the byway are protected.
Federal Highway Administration regulations further speak to the potential de-designation of Scenic Byways and All-American Roads “when it is determined that the local and/or State commitments described in a corridor management plan have not been met….”
In light of powerful forces moving to convert the NWPSB and All-American Road into an industrial heavy-duty truck route for the shipment of loads wider than the road’s 2 lanes, as tall as a three-story building and 2/3rds the length of a football field, each with a combined weight exceeding 500,000 pounds—and at a shipment rate 25 times greater per year than the State has typically approved in the past for much smaller shipments—we wish to know what you are doing to protect Idaho’s Northwest Scenic Byway and All-American Road and the local travel/tourism industry the NWPSB and its Corridor Management Plan are designed to enhance.
Considering that loads of gargantuan equipment are now sitting on the dock at the Port of Lewiston awaiting approval from the Idaho Transportation Department for transport up U.S. 12—with plans pending for the shipment of 207 additional loads during more than 200 days in 2010-2011, we and many other concerned citizens of north central Idaho would like to hear from you soon.
Peter Hartman, Division Administrator, Federal Highway Administration Idaho Division
Gary Jensen, Federal Highway Program Team, National Scenic Byways Program
North Central Idaho Travel Association
Kooskia Chamber of Commerce
Kamiah Chamber of Commerce
Orofino Chamber of Commerce
Lewiston Chamber of Commerce