Semi plows into man’s building the day after he asked ITD to lower the road’s speed limit
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SWAN VALLEY — Some residents say it’s time to bring down the speed limit on a portion of U.S. Highway 26 after semi-truck rolled on one stretch of road.
Folks who live near mile marker 387 want the highway’s current speed limit of 55 mph dropped. One man has been working for two years to try and make that happen.
Then, in the early hours of Nov. 17, Shane Fisher woke to the loud noise of a semi truck smashing into a small building on his property. He said just the day before he had told an Idaho Transportation Department official that something like that would happen if the speed limit is not dropped.
“That’s where the irony’s at,” Fisher told EastIdahoNews.com. “I’m literally calling, the day before asking, ‘Somebody slow these guys down.'”
Fisher said a little over a year and a half ago he called ITD to find out what needed to be done to get the speed limit dropped. When ITD looked at the stretch of road, officials acknowledged the dangers of the hills and sharp corners that drivers go around blind.
ITD put up two signs recommending drivers slow to 35 mph and conducted a speed study.
Fisher said he was hopeful the study would convince ITD officials to drop the speed limit. Those hopes were dashed when he was informed the 55 mph zone would remain in place.
According to ITD spokesman Bruce King, a speed study measures how quickly people are driving. They take the maximum speed 85 percent of those drivers travel at and generally post that as the limit.
“This speed tends to be the reasonable and enforceable speed limit to post,” King told EastIdahoNews.com.
Fisher said the results of the test showed the majority of drivers were driving above the current posted speed limit.
“This whole stretch right here — it needs slowed down,” Fisher said. “What I don’t understand is as you come into the town of Swan Valley, it’s 35 mph where there’s a gas station and restaurant and a few little businesses. What’s the difference here?”
Fisher said Palisades Lodge is just over the hill and then three or four houses and a left-hand turn to a recreational area.
He hopes ITD reconsiders before another crash happens or a life is lost.