Saturday, April 01, 2023

Traffic, school, construction clash on Moselle Drive

Staff Writer | May 29, 2021 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — Traffic, construction and school zones don't mix well.

On Moselle Drive, the only road into and out of Northwest Expedition Academy, now is one of those examples.

"I don't know who’s more at fault, if it's more the city and the school district for putting the school right there, or if it’s the construction company," concerned parent Amanda Buckley said. "This has been going on for months. Just the last couple weeks it’s been awful. They’ve had cranes moving wood over the cars and over the kids’ heads. There's construction trucks scooping up dirt and dumping it on the sidewalk.

"One time a kid hit rebar and flew off his bike," Buckley said. "There’s no access for the kids to be safe."

During morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up times, traffic swells in the already narrow street. Construction vehicles, equipment, dumpsters, portable toilets and other materials have made access difficult as construction crews build new homes.

Residents can't get in or out of the neighborhood when the bottleneck occurs. Traffic backs out to Prairie Avenue as parents wait for kids and about eight buses squeeze into the flow.

Coeur d'Alene city planners are aware of the difficulties. Inspectors have been communicating with the contractors about keeping the travel ways clear, city engineer Chris Bosley said Friday, but "unfortunately, our inspectors have many different project sites to visit and can’t be there all the time and with so many subcontractors involved in home construction, it’s difficult to ensure the message is received by everyone working in the area."

"We have traffic challenges at most of our schools, due to high peak traffic volumes during school pick-up and drop-off activities," he said. "This one seems to be a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances with construction activities on the street and only one way in and out of the school."

Frustrations exist on all sides. Timbered Ridge Construction, owned by Jeremy and Jessy Tripp, purchased the land before the school was built, and before they knew there would be just one access road to the school.

"When I first found out that was the only thoroughfare going through, I about cried," Jessy Tripp said. "I lost renters because they knew that was the only way in and out. We’ve lost people due to that traffic. I thought that was unfair not to have two ways to go in and out on that one tiny little road. I think it’s wrong.

"We're still waiting for that other road to be punched in," she said.

Bosley said Moselle will connect with Coeur d’Alene Place and provide additional routes to and from the school, but connections aren't planned for the immediate future.

"In the next few years, Moselle will also connect with Wilbur Avenue," he said. "At that time, the city will be installing a traffic signal at Ramsey Road and Wilbur Avenue. These future improvements will provide significant traffic relief for the school, but unfortunately the timing of those improvements is in the hands of the private developers."

With just a couple weeks of school left, district and NExA officials are working with Timbered Ridge and its contractors to time deliveries outside peak hours and to keep sidewalks clear for the 25 or so NExA students who walk and bike.

"There’s going to be construction activity in there until school’s out. Most of that will be completed by the time the kids will return to school," Jeremy Tripp said. "We will ensure that doesn’t impede access for sidewalks and roads."

Principal Bill Rutherford said the school resource officer has been on Moselle in the mornings to ensure students are safe.

"It is a tough situation right now," Rutherford said. "Since everybody’s given them attention in the last week and a half, it’s getting better."

The situation is expected to be better in the fall when the majority of the construction will be complete, Bosley said.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and look for opportunities to provide traffic relief for the school," he said.


Courtesy photo

A parent and child walk around a construction trailer Tuesday morning on Moselle Drive adjacent to Northwest Expedition Academy. Parents, contractors and residents are frustrated with the congestion situation that occurs on Moselle, which is the only way into and out of the school.



Moselle Drive off Prairie Avenue is fairly quiet at night. But the traffic during peak times for Northwest Expedition Academy has caused frustration for parents, builders and residents as the narrow Moselle is the only way into and out of NExA at this time.

Recent Headlines