Saturday, December 2, 2023
Click HERE to sign up to receive Eye On Sun Valley's Daily News Email
Ketchum’s Main Street Project-What You Need to Know
This rendering shows how Main Street might look with new trees, hanging plants, ornamental lamp posts and benches.
Monday, November 13, 2023


Refurbishing Ketchum’s Main Street, which is currently marked by potholes and wavy ripples, is slated to start in April. When it gets done will depend in part on the public, Ketchum City officials say.

“It will be a very challenging project, but the good news is that you can have imput,” Mayor Neil Bradshaw told those attending a presentation Thursday at Ketchum City Hall.

About 200 people turned out for a presentation about the Main Street Project Wednesday night at the Limelight Hotel. Another 50 turned out for Thursday’s presentation, with more tuning in online.

This rendering shows how pedestrians would no longer have to take a big step down outside the Lane Mercantile Building if the intersection was raised flush with the sidewalk.

The Idaho Transportation Department has given the city $7 million to oversee the project, which will involve constructing a new street from River Street to 10th Street near the Knob Hill Inn and installing sidewalks that are ADA compliant. The city is also considering adding additional dedicated turn lanes at the intersection of Main Street and Sun Valley Road to reduce commute time and enable traffic lights in the area to be synchronized.

The project will involve more work than Hailey’s recent Main Street project but not as much as what was done to Sun Valley Road, said City Administrator Jade Riley.

How long the project takes will depend on the plan the public and City Council members choose, Riley said. It will also depend on whether the city is willing to pay a little extra to have the contractor work nights and weekend.

“The more flexibility we give contractors, the faster the work gets done and the less it costs,” Riley said. “It’s not uncommon to put in a performance bonus in the contract for getting the work done quicker and penalties for going over.”

These photos show the deplorable state of Ketchum’s Main Street, but anyone who has driven, bicycled or walked it already knows about that.

The highway has more than exceeded its 25-year lifespan, given the heavy use and weather extremes it gets, Riley said. The new roadway should be good for 20 to 30 years.

This is an opportunity to improve traffic flow and provide better access for the disabled and pedestrians, he added.

Riley said the city and Idaho Transportation Department looked at 3- and 5-lane plans but decided the current four-lane configuration made the most sense.


This rendering shows how the intersection of Sun Valley Road at Main Street might be reconfigured.


The city is considering curb extensions that flair out in the street at corners. This slows drivers down when they’re turning right. And it allows drivers to see pedestrians easier since there’s less chance that parked vehicles will block visibility. It also cuts the distance pedestrians have to walk across Main Street and Sun Valley Road by at least 10 feet.

The city has modified the bulb-outs under consideration to accommodate snow removal.

The downside is that bulb-outs will take up two to 2.5 parking spaces at the Main Street/Sun Valley Road intersection.

This rendering shows how drive time could change given a reconfiguration.


Additional dedicated turn lanes are being considered with a blinking yellow light following the green so cars can continue to turn if no one is coming. This would shave 30 seconds off the commute of southbound traffic through downtown Ketchum.

It’s currently a 2.7-minute drive and this drive that’s expected to grow to 5.1 minutes by 2042 if no changes are made. If this plan is implemented that journey through downtown will decrease to 2.2 minutes.

The current traffic signal cycle at Sun Valley Road makes it nearly impossible for the city to synchronize lights. Implementing the proposed change would allow the city to better sync lights. The signal equipment will also be upgraded to decrease unused green time.

“We have to see if the public is excited about turn lanes—the fact we can synchronize the lights—or upset about losing parking spots,” said Bradshaw.


The city is considering raising the road surface at Sun Valley Road and Main Street to make it flush with the sidewalk. This would improve ADA and pedestrian safety. It would not alter the historic characteristics of the Lane Mercantile Building but it would help calm traffic, Riley said.


Right now, the configuration of roads coming out and going into Warm Spring from Main Street line up in  head-on manner, Riley said. Proposed plans call for a safer left hand turn that will be more apparent to visitors traveling through town. There also will be improved pedestrian crossing.


The city is considering a wider sidewalk on the east side of Highway 75 from 6th Street to the Ketchum Cemetery where it would join up with a 10-foot-wide multiuse path similar to that along Sun Valley Road  that would continue to Saddle Road.

A flashing yellow beacon will expedite pedestrian crossing from the sidewalk on the east side of the road to an improved pathway connecting to 7th street. There would also be a new turn lane for businesses.


Twenty-five of the current 72 parking spots along Main Street would be lost if bulb-outs and other considerations come to pass. Forty-seven would remain.

Main Street between 1st and second street would lose two parking spaces to bulbous. Second Street would lose two more. Twenty-three would be lost between Second and Fourth due to dedicated turn lanes being added. Main Street between Fourth and Fifth would gain three parking spaces, and Fifth Street would lose one due to the addition of a left turn lane.

The city does not want to have more than 85 percent occupancy per block, allowing for at least one open space for shoppers and visitors.

Ketchum has 1,996 on-street spaces in addition to the 146 lot spaces. City parking lots are not used to capacity and could be used by employees. The Fourth Street lot has 56 spaces; the Washington Avenue lot, 64, and the Leadville lot, 26.

One-way streets offer the possibility of more parking spaces. But drivers tend to drive faster on one-way streets. And, when someone misses their turn, they have to drive further to get where they’re going.

If loss of parking spaces results in longer walks for employees, the city needs to do a better job of enforcing snow removal, Riley said. Right now, 72 percent of those driving into town do so in single-occupancy vehicles, and that’s not sustainable for employees long-term, he added.

“How do we create more carrot stick opportunities?” Riley asked.


The Idaho Transportation Department has given a half-million dollars to the city to design the project. If the final design costs more than the $7 million ITD has allocated, ITD representatives will consider whether they can allocate more for the project. The city is optimistic the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency will help fund the sidewalks, which are not covered under ITD, said Bradshaw.


The Idaho Transportation Department will do a full rebuild and expansion of this roadway starting with the east side in 2025 and the west side in 2026. That project will encompass a new sidewalk between Serenade and River streets and a traffic light at Serenade Lane.



Take the city’s survey at The Ketchum City Council will meet with the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency at 4 p.m. today—Monday, Nov. 13--to review public feedback and discuss the design and potential cost share between the two entities.

The public is welcome to testify at the meeting, said Bradshaw.


The City of Ketchum expects to have public meetings in January to discuss streetscapes. Under consideration are hanging flowers, trees that would provide a splash of yellow in fall, ornamental street lamps and benches.

The city is also going to try to arrange a meeting to get bicyclists’ imput.

The city expects to consider more detailed designs with 90 percent of the details in February. It hopes to put the project to bid in late February or March.

Work would begin in April beginning with the sidewalk, curb and gutter. Temporary sidewalks would be mandated so businesses are not shuttered and deliveries can be made. Paving of the road will come last.

~  Today's Topics ~

Saint Alphonsus Ski and Mountain Trauma Conference Provides Hands-on Training

Get Pickin' at Music Jam

Pray for Snow Party to Include Free Chili and Dogs



















Website problems? Contact:
Michael Hobbs
General Manager /Webmaster
Got a story? Contact:
Karen Bossick
Editor in Chief
(208) 578-2111
Advertising /Marketing /Public Relations
Leisa Hollister
Chief Marketing Officer
(208) 450-9993
Brandi Huizar
Account Executive
(208) 329-2050
ABOUT US is the largest online daily news media service in The Wood River Valley, publishing 7 days a week. Our website publication features current news articles, feature stories, local sports articles and video content articles. The Eye On Sun Valley Show is a weekly primetime television show focusing on highlighted news stories of the week airing Monday-Sunday, COX Channel 13. See our interactive Kiosks around town throughout the Wood River Valley!      Press Releases only
P: 208.720.8212
P.O. Box 1453 Ketchum, ID  83340

© Copyright 2023 Eye on Sun Valley