Public meeting for upcoming Broadway Bridge replacement draws 155

A public meeting on the future replacement of the Broadway Bridge spanning the Boise River near Boise State University on Oct. 2 drew 155 attendees commenting on the bridge's design, a full-closure versus a partial closure during construction, and how pedestrians and bicyclists would access the Greenbelt. Other proposed changes also were discussed.

It was one of the best-attended meetings ITD has had in southwest Idaho, according to Public Involvement Coordinator Adam Rush, who added that another public meeting is planned prior to construction beginning in late 2015.

The current bridge is too narrow for the number of vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists that travel over it, particularly during local community and Boise State University events. On average, 24,500 vehicles travel across the bridge each day, along with many pedestrians and bicyclists.

The rebuilt bridge will have three lanes in each direction, Broadway Avenue will be repaved between Myrtle Street and Front Street, and the Greenbelt pathway near the bridge will be improved, among other changes.

The meeting solicited a range of input, from maintaining views of the Boise River to providing bicycle lanes.

Lesley Blumenschein, one of the owners of the Deli George restaurant on Broadway Avenue, said proposed bike lanes will help reduce congestion.

"I really like that they've provided a place for bikes to go," she said. "When you're walking to a BSU football game, you have to watch out for bicyclists and skateboarders. It'll make it a lot easier for everyone."

Blumenschein also is supportive of a full closure of the Broadway Bridge during construction. A full closure will allow the bridge to be rebuilt in nine months, as opposed to 18 months if one lane in each direction is kept open.

"I'd rather trade 18 months for nine months," Blumenschein said.

Nick Roberts and Kirsten Severud also attended the meeting. They routinely bicycle across the Broadway Bridge, and support having enough space for cyclists.

Roberts said a dedicated bicyle lane would help him feel more safe when riding across the bridge.

"Bike lanes and sidewalks are needed," Roberts said. "I like to be as far from traffic as possible."

Severud would like to see lighting incorporated into the bridge's railing.

"I like the idea of rail lighting," she said. "I'd like to minimize light pollution."

Published 10-10-14