EAGLE --Residents living along Eagle s Beacon Light Road who want to preserve the road s country charm are getting backing from the city council.
The council voted recently to recommend against expanding the road to five lanes.
Eagle Councilor Mark Butler said the city doesn t want to make Beacon Light Road a shortcut for highway drivers. The road is heavily traveled, and residents that live there have said many drivers use it as a quick cut across from the Valley.
The City of Eagle council made motions, and recommendations for Beacon Light road to stay three lanes to ultimately disconnect it from Highway 16 to stop it from being just a pass-through road, to basically force people to stay on the state roadway system, Butler said.
The council s recommendations will be made to both COMPASS, in their Capital Improvement Plan, and the Ada County Highway District for their five-year work plan. ACHD has jurisdiction over Beacon Light Road, and will make the ultimate decision on the expansion.
Eagle Resident David Gardner who lives with his family off Beacon Light Road near Big Sky Place, says he doesn t want to see the road expand.
Everybody is against it, said Gardner. Once we have told people what is going on they say 'are you kidding me?'
He believes five lanes would be unsafe, and would lower his property value. Some of his neighbors have formed a grassroots organization called Friends of Beacon Light to fight the expansion.
When we found out that they were trying to push a five-lane road through here we said no way, said Gardner. That is basically putting Eagle Road through the middle of rural Eagle which is why most people have moved here. You still get a little bit of the country side.
ACHD first proposed expanding the road to five lanes in the mid-1990s.
The current proposal to expand Beacon Light Road is part of ACHD s Northwest Foothills Transportation Plan, which is being updated. A portion of the draft plan calls for a five-lane Beacon Light Road from Idaho State Highway 55 to Idaho 16, based on traffic expected in the next 20 years.
However, that discussion is on hold until 2015, and the project wouldn t start construction until after the year 2030.
Those with the ACHD have expressed caution to the City of Eagle about approving more developments and subdivisions, and say they will continue to acquire right-of-way along Beacon Light Road with each development proposal.