The Phantom Photographer was at the dedication ceremonies of the Sandpoint Bypass earlier today, providing this photo of the color guard.
A crowd of nearly 500 people assembled to dedicate the Sand Creek Byway in Sandpoint today. "The project will benefit all of Idaho, not just the Sandpoint area and Bonner County," said Jim Coleman, Idaho Transportation Board member from northern Idaho. "U.S. 95 serves as a transportation corridor for the entire state and is a critical artery that will continue to unite the state." The contractor is putting the finishing touches on the project, and the route is expected to open in the near future. First proposed a half-century ago, the byway project included one of the most extensive efforts to involve the public during the decision-making process. Because of these efforts -- and the community's participation in helping design the project -- many of the community-driven amenities were included in the final project design. More below.
"The project is what it is today because of the community involvement and input from all sides," Coleman said.
"That's the way we want to work with all communities," he added.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, who was unable to attend the ceremony but provided videotaped remarks for the event, said the dedication marks a tremendous day for not just Sandpoint and Ponderay - the starting and ending points of the project - but "all the way up and down the entire Highway 95 corridor.
"The Sand Creek Byway means an end to the traffic congestion which hurts commerce throughout the region," he said.
The byway, in conjunction with other important roadway improvements, will maximize mobility, and provide a safe, long-term solution to traffic congestion problems in the Sandpoint area, including a non-stop, through-town corridor for commercial truck traffic. The byway also will provide a local opportunity to enjoy and use a modern bike and pedestrian trail/Barbara Babic, Idaho Transportation Department spokeswoman.