Open house in Bonners Ferry Dec. 14 will explain upcoming changes to US-95

US-95 will be improved from the Kootenai River Bridge to Alderson Lane.

COEUR d’ALENE–The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites the public to an open house on Thursday (Dec. 14) to learn about a project to improve safety on US-95 through Bonners Ferry.

The open house will be held at Boundary County Middle School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The open house will begin with a brief presentation on the key aspects of the project. Following the presentation, ITD staff will be available to answer any questions, project manager Ben Ward said.

“This project will improve safety for the many users of US-95 by providing improved pedestrian facilities, reducing the number of approaches to the highway, and controlling snow and water drainage better,” Ward said.

The project will be built in two phases at an estimated construction cost of $9.4 million. ITD contractors will be required to keep one lane of US-95 open in each direction during the day with the option to reduce the highway to one lane at night. Access to businesses along the highway will remain open during construction, Ward said.

The first phase of the project includes improvements to the South Hill to be constructed in 2018, and the second phase includes improvements on US-95 from Alderson Lane to Madison Street to be constructed in 2019.

The project will reduce US-95 to two lanes on the South Hill, allowing for the designation of acceleration lanes in both directions near Ash Street to make turns onto the highway easier, especially for trucks turning left to go up the hill. These acceleration lanes can also be used to reroute traffic and avoid delays in the event of stalled rigs or crashes on the South Hill, said Dan Budd, an ITD designer for the project.

The new merging point for southbound traffic will be moved north from the Madison Street intersection to the Kootenai Street intersection. A protected crosswalk will be placed just south of the Madison Street intersection to provide safer crossing for children going to the city’s swimming pool. Getting traffic into one lane before the Madison intersection will make it safer for the many pedestrians who will cross there, Budd said.

“We want drivers approaching the Madison intersection to be looking forward at the crosswalk, not looking back over their shoulder while trying to merge into one lane,” Budd said. “Pedestrians, often children, use that intersection to cross to the local swimming pool.”

The new crosswalk will be equipped with pedestrian-activated, high-intensity lights to bring drivers’ attention to the crosswalk and allow pedestrians to cross safely, Budd said.

As part of the first phase of the project, ITD contractors also will upgrade the streetlights on the South Hill to be more efficient, and the existing sidewalk will be expanded from 5 feet to 8 feet, Budd said.

Highway improvements from Alderson Lane to Madison Street include the creation of a consistent three-lane highway with wider shoulders to accommodate bicyclists and 6-foot sidewalks separated from the highway by a grass buffer, all illuminated by new lights.

The project will also remove the signal at Alderson Lane. ITD initially considered upgrading the signal due to its age, but further analysis determined that the signal was not warranted by the volume of vehicles using it, even during peak summer traffic, Ward said.

Those unable to attend the open house may view details by visiting the project website at http://arcg.is/P584v. The website also features general responses to comments received from three meetings held by ITD during the design process. Any additional questions about the project should be addressed to Ben Ward at (208) 772-1218 or Ben.Ward@itd.idaho.gov.

 

Public invited to hearing in CDA on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to discuss upcoming ID-41 changes

ID-41 Mullan to Prairie Public Meeting

COEUR d’ALENE—Project planners invite the public to attend a hearing on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to give their feedback about the conversion of Idaho Highway 41 into a divided four-lane highway from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue in Post Falls.

Held at the Coeur d’Alene office of the Idaho Transportation Department from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the hearing will give the public the opportunity to view exhibits and provide input on the project, ITD project manager Lee Bernardi said.

The project will improve the safety of the highway and meet future traffic demands for the area, Bernardi said.

The comment period for ID-41 improvements from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue will begin with the public hearing on Nov. 28 and close on Dec. 12. Those unable to attend the hearing can still comment by visiting the project website.

“This region is one of the fastest-growing in the nation right now,” Bernardi said. “State highway 41 will experience a significant growth in users. This project will address the traffic and safety needs of the anticipated growth.”

The route connects the developing cities of Post Falls and Rathdrum and serves as an alternative north-south route for US-95. Statistics show that crash severity and fatality rates for ID-41 are greater than the statewide average for similar highways, confirming the need to address both capacity and safety issues for the highway, Bernardi said.

ID-41 16th Ave to Prairie Ave Typical Section
The project also includes traffic signal upgrades at the intersections of 16th, Poleline and Prairie avenues with ID-41, as well as the installation of a new light at Hope Avenue. A path for bikers and pedestrians will be built on the east side of the highway to further connect Post Falls to Rathdrum, Bernardi said.

“We encourage comments from the public,” Bernardi said. “We want the public to be involved in the process because it’s ultimately for them. They’re our users, and we want the project to meet their needs.”

ITD contractors will begin construction in 2020 and finish in 2021. Contractors will minimize traffic impacts by building the new northbound lanes while the public continues to use the existing two-lane highway. Once the northbound lanes are finished, traffic will be redirected to those new lanes while contractors rebuild the old portion of ID-41. At the end of construction, the public will be able to travel on a divided four-lane highway from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue, Bernardi said.

This $14.5 million project is part of a larger reconstruction project to improve ID-41 from Mullan Avenue in Post Falls to Boekel Road in Rathdrum. Improvements for the entire highway between Post Falls and Rathdrum are anticipated to be completed by 2021 at an estimated cost of $39 million, Bernardi said.

Interested parties may attend a separate public meeting in January 2018 for ID-41 improvements from Prairie Avenue to Boekel Road, said John Vaudreuil, ITD project manager for that section of the highway.

Transportation department to host public meeting June 21 on U.S. 95 improvements

COEUR D’ALENE – A public meeting will be held Wednesday (June 21) to share information on planned improvements to a section of U.S. 95.

The meeting is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Idaho Transportation Department’s district office at 600 W. Prairie Avenue, Coeur d’Alene. Project staff will be available to answer questions, and displays will illustrate information. Those interested in attending can stop by any time within those three hours.

The transportation department, Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, city of Coeur d’Alene and city of Hayden received a FASTLANE grant to make improvements along 8.9 miles of U.S. 95. The improvements will be from Interstate 90 to the U.S. 95 intersection with Idaho 53. FASTLANE grants are given to regionally and nationally significant highway projects that improve safety, reduce congestion and contribute to economic opportunity, among other improvements.

Improvements include correcting traffic signal spacing to remove two traffic signals and add two traffic signals, adding adaptive signal timing, modifying vehicle-median crossings at non-signalized locations to reduce the number of crossing conflict points and adding left turn lanes and right turn lanes at certain locations to improve mobility on side streets.

Comments are being accepted on the improvements, and can be e-mailed to CarrieAnn Hewitt at carrieann.hewitt@itd.idaho.gov, or mailed to Hewitt at Idaho Transportation Department, 600 W. Prairie Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, ID  83815.

For additional information, please visit: http://itd.idaho.gov/d1/?target=planning, and click on “US-95 N Corridor Access Improvement.”

Those with questions about the public meeting or U.S. 95 improvements can call CarrieAnn at (208) 772-1230.