Skip to content

Idaho Transportation Department seeking bids for US-95 expansion south of Moscow

The Idaho Transportation Department is now seeking bids on a project to expand US-95 south of Moscow.

“This a major step forward toward construction,” District Engineer Doral Hoff said.

Three years of work will transform 6.5 miles of US-95 between Thorn Creek and Moscow, shifting it less than a mile to the east and turning it into a four-lane highway safer for all motorists. The new route will tie in at Reisenauer Hill and feature flatter grades, fewer approaches and less severe curves. The current route is the last two-lane section between Moscow and Lewiston.

“Although drivers won’t see major excavation start until at least mid-April, bidding now allows us to get started on the business of planning for construction with a contractor,” Hoff said.

The first year of work is expected to focus on the southern end near Reisenauer Hill, with the following two years building the remaining connection to Moscow.

“We want drivers to know that this long-awaited safety project is finally ready to be built,” said Ken Helm, an ITD Program Manager who has been working on this project since it was first proposed in 1998.

Contractors can find the advertising package at itd.idaho.gov/business for at least four weeks, with the contract awarded as early as November 9. The contract is expected to be awarded for approximately $71 million.

More project information is available at itdprojects.org/us95thorncreek.

Construction continues on US-95 near Sandpoint

Drone shot of the southern end of the Long Bridge

Efforts to improve US-95 near Sandpoint continue, with construction starting tomorrow at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive at the southern end of the Long Bridge.

Over the next six weeks crews will build both southbound and northbound acceleration lanes for traffic turning onto US-95 from Lakeshore Drive.

“The contractor will maintain one lane of traffic in each direction on the highway at all times, so impacts to drivers on US-95 are expected to be minimal,” ITD Project Manager Phil Stout said.

The southern entrance to Smokehouse Road will close for the duration of work.

Crews will also establish turn lanes with new striping on Lakeshore Drive. The existing center turn lane on US-95 will transition to a dedicated turn lane for northbound traffic turning left onto the side street.

“This will be the first phase of improvements for this intersection,” Stout said. “We are currently designing the second phase, tentatively planned for 2022, which could include median U-turns for Lakeshore Drive and/or Bottle Bay Road.”

A signal is also planned with the second phase of improvements a few miles south at the intersection of US-95 and Sagle Road.

“As it’s still in design, what is or isn’t included with the second phase could change,” Stout said. “We plan to host an open house in November once we have a better idea of what will work.”

Visit itdprojects.org/us95lakeshoredrive for more information, and go to 511.idaho.gov for updated traffic impacts.

US-26 in Idaho officially named POW-MIA Memorial Highway during ceremony and sign unveiling in Carey

Image of US-26 POW-MIA Memorial Highway Sign Locations

Idaho legislators, representatives from the National League of POW-MIA Families, community members and the Idaho Transportation Department will officially celebrate the naming of US-26 in Idaho as the “POW-MIA Memorial Highway” at 2 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at the Carey City Park – Boyd Stocking Pavilion.

During the 2021 Idaho legislative session, HB132aa sponsored by Representative Scott Syme and Senator Patti Anne Lodge, formally designated and named US-26 in Idaho, the POW-MIA Memorial Highway. The bill unanimously passed both chambers, respectively, and was signed by Governor Little in April.

Idaho is home to eight soldiers designated as MIA and the City of Carey happens to be home to one of those individuals. Jon Michael Sparks was a helicopter pilot for the US Army and was lost in Long Binh Province, Laos, on March 19, 1971.

US-26 in Idaho runs from the Oregon border to the Wyoming border. The highway naming is part of a nationwide effort to designate US-26 as the POW-MIA Memorial Highway from coast to coast, with several other states participating over the years as well.

There are 10 locations across US-26 in southern Idaho where new POW-MIA Memorial Highway signs will be installed.

ITD seeks feedback on draft Americans with Disabilities Act Transition Plan update

As the Idaho Transportation Department updates its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan, the public is encouraged to learn more about plans to invest nearly $35 million into projects and services over the next 15 years.

ADA Transition is the process of eliminating accessibility barriers to existing pedestrian infrastructure on the state highway system. It also helps identify programs that fund improvements through a coordinated effort with local highway districts and other municipalities.

In an effort to gather feedback about the plan, ITD will host an online survey as part of a 30-day public comment period that begins Sept. 17. The survey can be accessed at itd.idaho.gov/planning by clicking on the link. The survey is available 24 hours a day.

Staff will also hold a virtual public information meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain time. 
You can find the meeting link posted online at itd.idaho.gov/planning or by emailing ADA@itd.idaho.gov.

Comments and feedback shared during this public involvement phase will be incorporated into a draft ADA Transition Plan, that will become official after review and approval by the Federal Highway Administration and Idaho Transportation Board later this fall.

For questions or to learn more about ADA Transition, please email ADA@itd.idaho.gov or call (208)332-7823.

Diablos 4H Horse Club is North Idaho litter cleanup Group of the Year

ITD truck loaded with bags of trash from an Adopt a Highway pickup
In 1991, the Diablos 4-H Horse Club of Hayden Lake formed an Adopt-A-Highway group and committed to a few years of keeping a two-mile section on US-95 just past the town’s city limits clean from litter. Thirty years later, their passion for beautification remains the same, and that stretch of highway is clear…as are a few other pieces of road as they have occasionally branched out beyond that original commitment.
Last year, COVID prevented the club from cleaning as they typically do. However, over time the group has assembled some impressive numbers, under the direction of Mariam Crumb. Some of the original members have moved along and traded horses for other forms of transportation, but one thing remains the same — Marian.  Crumb has been part of the litter clean-up efforts since the beginning in 1991, but the efforts actually began a dozen years before the “official” formation.
When asked about her sense of devotion to community, she said it was the influence of her parents to do what she could “to make the world a better place.”  Her service has meant organizing 1,340 volunteers in picking up nearly 24 tons of litter.
Marion has allowed us to share that she is 88 years old, has been with the 4-H program for 58 years, has taught horseback riding for over 70 years — 41 years of which have been with North Idaho College. She has an extensive college education in the teaching field, with a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and enough college credits for a PhD.
For more information about adopting a stretch of highway in North Idaho, contact Volunteer Services Coordinator Robin Karsann at 208-772-8011. The AAH statewide coordinator is Judi Conner, who can be reached at 208 334-8094.

ITD’s statewide Adopt-A-Highway program organizes the cleaning of Idaho roadsides by volunteer groups. Those groups “adopt” a specific stretch of highway – usually two miles long – and take responsibility for keeping it clean through regular litter patrols, usually seasonal, although winter patrols are frequently postponed until the snow melts to reveal the trash lying beneath.

This is not the only time the group has been recognized by the Idaho Transportation Board. In 2008, the board and District 1 officials presented the group with a certificate of appreciation and a clock fashioned from a sample state license plate.

Mariam Crumb at left holding plaque, along with Danielle Kern.

ITD and ESHD to collect comment on bridges near Cataldo

The Idaho Transportation Department and East Side Highway District will host an open house on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The meeting will provide an opportunity for individuals to comment on plans for bridges on I-90 and Canyon Road near Cataldo.

ITD plans to replace the structures on I-90 over the Coeur d’Alene River near milepost 40 in 2024. The bridges were built in 1964 and have reached the end of their design life. ESHD is exploring alternatives for the future of the Canyon Road Bridge located 400 feet upstream, which was built in 1936.

“Given the proximity of the aging structures, we are combining resources so that the highway district can determine the feasibility of replacing their bridge while we replace and widen the I-90 structures,” ITD Project Manager Erica Aamodt said.

The open house will be held in Kellogg at the Shoshone County Fire District 2 located at 911 Bunker Avenue. Individuals are welcome to stop by anytime from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to view displays and speak with members of the project team who will be available to answer questions on both projects. Masks will be provided and are encouraged for attendees.

For those who would rather learn and comment about the projects online, visit itdprojects.org/i90cataldobridges after the meeting. Comments will be accepted through October 5.

Final fix to dips on I-90 near Kellogg start Monday

Crews put down temporary pavement

Work will start on Monday, Sept. 13 to address settling on I-90 near Kellogg. Over the next two weeks, crews will address dips that first appeared near milepost 49 in the spring of 2019.

“We expect this to be the final fix until it’s time to address the larger section of interstate,” Operations Engineer Jerry Wilson said. “Our surveys have detected no movement for the last year, even during spring runoff when there was the greatest potential.”

Repairs call for the pavement in the median to be removed, the base to be built back up and paved again. All lanes between the two settling sections will also be repaved to provide for a smooth surface.

“Unlike our previous repairs in February and April of 2019, this time we will correct the settling in the median and pave the full stretch between the two dips,” Wilson said.

Construction will last two weeks, with traffic reduced to one lane in each direction. To date repairs have cost an estimated $400,000.

US-95 traffic at Granite Hill to shift on Thursday

Smoky conditions above newly paved frontage road for US_95

Construction on US-95 at Granite Hill north of Athol is expected to reach a major milestone this week, with traffic expected to shift on Thursday to the newly paved east-side frontage road. The three current lanes of traffic will be maintained, but the speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph.

Work began earlier this year to expand US-95 to four lanes over the hill, build two-lane frontage roads on both sides and improve the intersection at Trails End Road.

“This shift is necessary to allow us to rebuild the primary lanes,” Project Manager Steven Bakker said. “We have also started grading the alignment of the west-side frontage road, so we have closed the south entrance to Granite Loop Road.”

Several intersections with US-95 are slated to close as part of the project, which is designed to improve safety by reducing direct access to the highway and guiding drivers via frontage roads to the best spot for traffic to turn onto the highway. These intersections include Mara Meadows, Granite Loop Road, Old House Road, Homestead Road and North Williams Lane. Trails End Road will receive new turn lanes and lighting so it can provide safer and direct access to the highway.

“Moving forward, drivers can expect to travel on the frontage road until near the end of construction,” Bakker said. “There’s more blasting in the future of this project, so we always urge drivers to pay attention to signs in the work zone and to check 511.”

This $21 million project is scheduled to be complete in fall of 2022.

ITD to meet with freight stakeholders

A truck climbs a hill

The Idaho Transportation Department will meet with freight stakeholders across the state this September to collect feedback and update its freight plan.

The Idaho State Freight Plan identifies how ITD will strategically invest state and federal funding in infrastructure to increase the safety, capacity and efficiency of the freight system for the benefit of the Idaho economy.

The document analyzes the needs and issues in Idaho, details policies and strategies to overcome them, identifies critical freight corridors and lists projects to be funded. These projects are supported by approximately $10 million of federal funding each year.

Freight stakeholders utilize infrastructure on a daily basis for basic operations and produce, ship/receive or transport the majority of goods within the state. Such industries include: agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade and transportation and warehousing. Those who would like to participate in the process should contact Scott Luekenga at (208) 334-8057 or scott.luekenga@itd.idaho.gov to get details on the available times and locations.

Participants will be guided through a 30-minute survey based on their industry. They are invited to engage in person at the following events:

  • Lewiston on Sept. 2
  • Blackfoot on Sept. 16
  • Twin Falls on Sept. 21

Virtual opportunities will also be accommodated through the end of September. Another round of public comment is expected in spring 2022 to review the updated plan.

New landslide database provides tool for project development and hazard mitigation

The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) is helping the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) learn more from landslides in the Gem State. A new statewide inventory database of landslide and rock fall hazards released by IGS in late June will assist ITD, emergency managers, and planners with forecasting and hazard mitigation by identifying problematic hot spots.

The project was sponsored by ITD’s Division of Highways – Construction and Materials team and funded through ITD’s Research Program.

The inventory contains more than 2,400 landslide entries spanning from prehistoric to active events. It’s posted on the IGS website and can be accessed through an interactive webmap service.

The information was also added to ITD’s IPLAN online ArcGIS platform. The database includes attributes to maintain MSE retaining wall locations and risk factors to evaluate the condition of the wall, as well as attributes for rock fall risk, so ITD districts can assess the problematic areas that could cause road closures.

Data were compiled from historic archives, information provided by ITD geotechnical staff and district geologists, unpublished IGS field observations, analysis of LiDAR imagery, remote sensing, satellite images, and newly mapped landslides.

“The study represents a live catalog of mass movements across the state with a particular focus on transportation corridors and urban areas,” said State Geologist and IGS Director Claudio Berti. “The database is a tool for documenting and assessing slope stability hazards. It is not intended to predict future events, but to document known events and show broad patterns of occurrence.”

This new database replaces the last inventory published in 1991, a static map no longer suitable for modern digital analyses. The 2021 version will be kept up to date as new events occur or new information becomes available.

Landslide problem areas in Idaho include: Bonners Ferry, Clearwater River Basin, Horseshoe Bend, Boise Foothills, Hagerman, U.S. 95 between Pollock and Lucile, and U.S. 26 between Swan Valley and the Wyoming border. Geologic characteristics of the bedrock, fractures, systems, precipitation, regional hydrogeology, vegetation, wildfires, and steepness of hillslopes are all contributing factors in landslide initiation and development.

You can also learn more by reading the full research report linked here.