County aims to improve safety on Spirit Lake Cutoff

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

The Bonner County Road and Bridge Department could be one step closer to making Spirit Lake Cutoff Road safer after a unanimous vote from county commissioners Jan. 18 approving the submission of a grant application to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

The grant, available through LHTAC’s Local Highway Safety Improvement Program, would be used to improve safety on Spirit Lake Cutoff — a road known for its dramatic curves.

“Looking at all of the crash data that we have from the past five years, we’ve seen a pattern of people who have failed to negotiate the curves on Spirit Lake Cutoff Road,” said Road and Bridge Staff Engineer Matt Mulder. “There have been two fatal accidents and a number of other accidents, particularly on the sharpest corner of those curves.”

If secured, the $1.6 million grant would be used to “realign the sharpest corner so that it’s not as sharp, add guardrail to the outside edge of two of the curves and add lighted chevrons around all of the corners on that road,” Mulder said. The grant would require a 7.34% match from Bonner County, totaling approximately $119,000.

Asked during the Jan. 18 meeting which of Spirit Lake Cutoff’s curves is the “sharpest,” Mulder said it was the “second corner north from Highway 41.”

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