Photo by David Rauzi
Looking east at the north end of Johnston Road and U.S. Highway 95 at one of two services signs placed this month by the Idaho Transportation Department.
As of Tuesday, October 17, 2017
GRANGEVILLE The scenery along U.S. Highway 95 goes by fast at 65 mph, and long has the Grangeville business community wrung its hands with drivers saving time bypassing the community along Johnston Road.
While the bypass remains, local efforts have activated the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to install service signage at Johnston Road’s north and south intersections with U.S. 95. At about $400 each, the four blue signs will indicate with symbols the available Grangeville services for gas, food and lodging to both north and southbound motorists.
Installation of such signage is done at the request of the community, explained Doral Hoff, ITD District 2 office engineering manager. In this instance, at the joint request about two months ago of both Grangeville businessman Ted Lindsley and Dist. 7 Senator Carl Crabtree.
“The traffic using Johnston Road may not know about the food or services ahead [in Grangeville],” Hoff said, “and we see this as a way to help facilitate providing that information to motorists.”
“We really appreciate the opportunity to work with Sen. Crabtree and Mr. Lindsley,” Hoff said.
Senator Crabtree noted, “This is a good example of the local business community and state government working together to solve local problems and help each other.”
Signs went up earlier this month.
“I’ve been working on this for probably 15 years,” Lindsley said, who has already conducted his own private signage efforts south of Riggins to promote his business, Super 8, as well as Grangeville restaurants and the community, as a whole. The community depends on outside dollars from transient traffic along U.S. 95, but the bypass encourages travelers to continue along as they don’t see and are unaware of what Grangeville offers. This is further aggravated as motorists doing a Google search for U.S. 95 north-south directions will be directed to the bypass.
“My whole motivation with this is to let people know there is something up here, specifically, places to shop, places to get your car fixed, to eat,” Lindsley said. Rather drivers looking ahead to Lewiston or Boise, “This can be your next stop. You can rely on us.” The new signage, as a tool, may help people plan the way they travel, introducing them to the community and in future trips, including Grangeville as a stop on their itinerary.
“I think this will be very good for our community,” he said.
A goal still in the works is changing the Google traffic routing along the road, which Sen. Crabtree is currently working on with ITD, which has been “very cooperative,” he said. In affecting how motorists use Johnston Road, this will benefit not only the city but the Grangeville Highway District, which is responsible for maintaining the road.
“Does it list it [Johnston Road] as a state highway? No. That’s because it isn’t one,” he said, “yet, it’s being used as one, and it was never intended for those kinds of traffic loads.”