Priest River slide repairs begin

Cones show one slide on ID-57 north of Priest River.

Work began Monday, May 20 to repair two slides that fell in April 2017 on ID-57 just north of Priest River. Repairs are expected to take about one month, during which the highway will be reduced to one lane with a temporary signal present to guide alternating traffic. 

On the west side of the highway, crews will excavate material and construct a rock inlay to help stabilize the slope. On the east side, gabion baskets, or cages full of rocks, will be installed. The highway will also be reconstructed. 

 Earthworks Northwest is constructing improvements for approximately $540,000.

For updates, visit the project website at itdprojects.org/id57priestriverslides.

Federal grant funds new pedestrian tunnel for Camp Easton; ID-97 closure expected this week

Crews begin constructing pedestrian tunnel near Camp Easton on ID-97.

Idaho Highway 97 is scheduled to be closed this week to allow construction of a pedestrian tunnel for Camp Easton north of Harrison. The closure is expected to begin Tuesday, May 7 and last no later than May 16.

Drivers are advised to use Burma Road as a detour while the 10-foot wide tunnel is being constructed at the current location of the camp’s crosswalk.

The tunnel and associated project features are funded by a $230,000 grant from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP). East Side Highway District sponsored the application. The Boy Scouts of America Inland Northwest Council contributed an additional $45,000 as a match.

Per the grant application, an average of 220 campers must cross the highway multiple times each day during the summer to access both sides of the 383-acre camp.

TAP grants can be used for a range of projects from on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities to safe routes to school education projects. This program is authorized to fund $850 million in improvements across the nation this year.

Traffic impacts on I-90 to change later this week

Traffic approaches construction on I-90 near the ID-41 exit.

Repairs to the Atlas and Huetter bridges on Interstate 90 are halfway complete, and by this weekend crews will start working on the remaining halves of the structures, requiring a change in the construction zone.

Once the next phase of work starts, westbound lanes will be divided before the bridge over Atlas Road, with one lane remaining in place for access to the rest area near Huetter and the other lane crossing the median to join eastbound traffic over the bridges. All drivers heading to the rest area will need to take the right lane. Both lanes will have access to the Idaho Highway 41 exit.

View a graphic showing traffic impacts.

Other work in the construction zone this week will apply striping and smooth the surface on I-90 from Northwest Boulevard to Ninth Street, requiring a single-lane closure at night. Crews will work on the eastbound lanes before finishing westbound lanes, with work anticipated to last four nights and planned to start tomorrow (May 1).

Bridge repairs expected to be completed by early July and will be followed by another project to reduce rutting from the Washington-Idaho border to the Northwest Boulevard exit. Resurfacing will last until September.

Information on the bridge maintenance project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90bridgespf, and information on the resurfacing project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90statelineresurfacing.

North Idaho boat check stations reopen for the season

A picture of a boat check station, courtesy of ISDA.

Boat check stations across the state are now open, including the one on Interstate 90 near Cedars, where inspectors found the greatest number of contaminated watercraft in 2018.

Primarily positioned near state borders, stations check for aquatic invasive species (AIS), such as zebra mussels, being transported between watersheds. Key to this effort is signage provided by the Idaho Transportation Department to advertise inspection opportunities and patrols by local law enforcement to ensure motorists remember to stop.

The stations are part of a larger effort by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) to prevent the spread of AIS.

“The spread of aquatic invasive species like the mussels would threaten the Idaho we know and love,” said Nic Zurfluh, a section manager for ISDA.

Invasive mussels are easily transported, and once attached to an area, can quickly take over and are hard to eradicate. Colonies clog pipes in water systems, threatening hydropower and irrigation for food, as well as municipal water supplies. When they take over a lake, it can quickly lose its recreational value.

“If quagga or zebra mussels were to infest Idaho’s waters, as they have done in other states, it could cost the state nearly $100 million annually in damage and lost revenue,” Zurfluh said.

Invasive mussels are thought to have been carried over by transoceanic shipping containers through ballast water in the late 1980s. They started in the Great Lakes, and since then, they have been transported down the Mississippi Basin and to the west.

Shortly after the invasive mussels were found in Arizona’s Lake Mead in 2007, Idaho began monitoring lakes and rivers.

“Now we’re seeing more overland transportation,” Zurfluh said.

The Columbia Basin is the remaining major watershed in the United States that has not been infested, inspiring a regional effort between Montana, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and even Canada to share data, outreach strategies and prevention efforts.

Fifty fouled watercraft—ranging from boats to kayaks to barges—were found across the state last year through 110,000 inspections, though none were carrying viable organisms. To date this year, 10 fouled boats have been found.

“The opportunity for prevention is alive and well,” Zurfluh said.

To protect Idaho’s waters, watercraft users can remember three simple rules: clean, dry and drain.

  • CLEAN watercraft and equipment before leaving any waterbody.
  • DRAIN water from all equipment.
  • DRY all vessel compartments and lay equipment out to dry before using in a different body waterbody or watershed.

For those recreating in the Coeur d’Alene area, note that the Coeur d’Alene River and the St. Joe River are part of different watersheds, requiring extra care between trips. More information is available at: http://invasivespecies.idaho.gov/watercraft-inspection-stations.

US-95 bridges north and south of CDA to be repaired this summer

The sign shows the Bunco Road overpass on US-95 near Silverwood.

Beginning next week, a project to repair 17 structures on US-95 from Plummer to Westmond will begin.

Repairs will include overlays and some demolition, although work and impacts will vary from bridge to bridge. Drivers can expect at least one lane open.

Prominent bridges include several structures near the ID-58 interchange, Bunco Road overpass and the Athol interchange. All work is expected to be completed after September.

Contractors are typically expected to be on site during weekdays. They will likely spend a few weeks at each bridge before moving on to the next, with some overlapping work possible.

Repairs to Bunco Road overpass near Silverwood will be done at night to minimize impacts to traffic. Those repairs are currently scheduled for July.

More information can be found online at itdprojects.org/us95bridges.

Hazard trees to be removed on I-90 near Fourth of July Pass later this month

Beginning in late April, contractors will start removing hazard trees along two miles of Interstate 90 near Fourth of July Pass to enhance highway safety. Trees can be hazardous when they fall, shade roadways and cause icy conditions in winter as well as hide any approaching wildlife.

Work will last for approximately one month during which travelers can expect work on the shoulders. Trees on the eastbound side will be removed first, followed by trees on the westbound side. Impacts are expected to be limited to the two lanes closest to the work.

Drivers may encounter single-lane or possibly two-lane closures of I-90. Full closures will be less than 10 minutes and may be necessary when logging tall or dead trees near the interstate. Crews will determine the need for and timing of these closures on site.

The contractor will remove dead and dying trees from 200 acres of state property while also harvesting other trees in the area to cover operating costs.

“It’s important to do this work when we can because trees can fall on the road or act as obstacles when people drive off the road,” operations engineer Jerry Wilson said. “We’ve found a way to let experts remove these trees at no extra cost to the taxpayers, while enhancing their safety.”

In the past, ITD has hired help to remove trees that could not be safely removed with its own employees and equipment, with a recent contract charging $1,000 per tree.

“Given the number of trees that need to be removed in this section, that wasn’t feasible,” Wilson said. “If this process works well, ITD could continue to use similar partnerships to increase safety along the entire corridor.”

More details can be found by watching this video or by visiting itdprojects.org/i90trees.

Lane closure on I-90 in Post Falls expected next two weekends

Cars pass the weigh-in-motion slab near the ID-41 exit on I-90 in Post Falls.

Eastbound drivers on Interstate 90 can expect a single-lane closure near the Idaho Highway 41 exit as crews work on the weigh-in-motion concrete slab just west of the interchange.

The slow lane on eastbound I-90 is planned for closure through this weekend (April 19-21) and next weekend (April 26-28), with some nighttime restrictions possible between the planned weekend closures.

Work will help port of entry officials gain more accurate measurements from the scales by creating a smoother transition. Repairs are part of a larger project to improve bridges on I-90 and in Post Falls.

All bridge work is expected to be completed by early July and will be followed by another project to reduce rutting from the Washington-Idaho border to the Northwest Boulevard exit. Resurfacing will last until September.

Information on the bridge maintenance project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90bridgespf, and information on the resurfacing project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90statelineresurfacing.

Silver Valley bridges and overpasses to receive repairs beginning Monday, April 15

I-90 ramp at Pinehurst.

Work to repair six structures on Interstate 90 from Bennett Bay to Kellogg will start Monday, April 15.

Bridge decks on interstate ramps at Pine Creek in Pinehurst will be repaired first. A month-long detour to the Kingston exit is planned to be in place while crews work on the eastbound off-ramp.

Crews will move between bridges as they complete repairs, with the ramps at Pinehurst followed by the Airport Road overpass in Smelterville and the Bunker Avenue overpass in Kellogg. Bridges at Bennett Bay and the Kingston overpass are scheduled for improvements in May and June.

Work will pause for six weeks around July to allow water levels to lower so crews can apply protective paint to one structure in Pinehurst in August.

Bridges on the interstate may be reduced to one lane in each direction, and closures for structures over the interstate will vary with the location and availability of detours nearby. Drivers are advised to check 511.idaho.gov for the latest traffic impacts and to visit the website for more information.

Temporary repairs for I-90 near Kellogg scheduled Friday

The sinking section on I-90 near Kellogg has caused the centerline to shift.

Work is planned Friday, March 29 to temporarily repair depressions on Interstate 90 near Kellogg for a second time.

Crews will add asphalt to the dips to form a smooth surface for drivers. The work will be done on one lane of each section (eastbound and westbound) at a time, with traffic shifted over to the other lane.

Repairs to all four dips are expected to take one day, though future temporary repairs may be needed.

The Idaho Transportation Department continues to coordinate with other agencies in the area to investigate the cause of the damage and to develop a long-term fix for the depressions.

Drilling next week will help develop permanent repairs by collecting road data. Scheduled for April 4, drivers can expect a single-lane closure on eastbound I-90 during drilling operations.

The speed limit will be reevaluated to increase it back to as near 75 mph as is safely possible.

For more information, visit the project website.

Nighttime closures on Interstate 90 near Huetter begin next week

Vehicles travel near crossovers constructed in 2018 on I-90.

Interstate 90 will be reduced to two lanes at night next week while crews prepare for continued construction this year to repair bridges over Huetter and Atlas roads.

Construction in the area last year built crossovers that will allow all four lanes to remain open during daytime work, which is scheduled to begin the last weekend in March.

Eastbound lanes will be divided before the rest area near Huetter, with one lane remaining in place for access to the rest area and Northwest Boulevard, and the other lane crossing the median to join westbound traffic over the bridges. Although those needing access to the rest area and Northwest Boulevard exit will need to remain in the right lane, both lanes will have access to the US-95 exit. View a graphic showing traffic impacts.

Later this year, crews will work on the other halves of the bridges, requiring westbound lanes to be divided and all drivers heading to the rest area will need to take the right lane. Both lanes will have access to the Idaho Highway 41 exit during that configuration.

As part of this project, more overpasses in Post Falls will receive a sealing treatment. This work will be done at night and requires single-lane closures for a few nights per bridge.

At this time the only planned daytime closures on the interstate are scheduled for work later this spring to gain more accurate measurements from the weigh-in-motion concrete slab west of the ID-41 interchange by creating a smoother transition. During this time, one eastbound lane will be closed for two weekends with some nighttime lane closures in between.

All work is expected to be completed by early July and will be followed by another project to reduce rutting from the Washington-Idaho border to the Northwest Boulevard exit. Resurfacing will last until September.

Information on the bridge maintenance project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90bridgespf, and information on the resurfacing project can be found at itdprojects.org/i90statelineresurfacing.