Highway sealcoats to take place this July throughout North Idaho

To extend the life of previously completed highway projects, sealcoats will be applied to several highways throughout the region starting the week of July 9.

When sealcoats are applied, roadways will be reduced to one lane. Motorists should anticipate short delays and watch for the presence of pilot cars.

Sealcoating is a roadway surface treatment best applied during the hot and dry months of summer when chips of aggregate will properly adhere to an oil layer deposited on the highway. The newly-treated surface helps preserve the pavement and provides for better vehicle traction.

Drivers are cautioned to slow down and pay attention within the work zones, as chips placed during the sealcoating process have the potential to cause windshield damage.

Sealcoating projects scheduled to occur this summer along with their anticipated start date, location and length are as follows:

  • July 9: Idaho Highway 3 — approximately 31 miles from the Coeur d’Alene River Bridge to the Canyon Creek Road area
  • July 16: Idaho Highway 58 — approximately 3 miles from the Washington border to the US-95 junction
  • July 17: Idaho Highway 54 — approximately 3.5 miles from the Goodhope Road traffic circle through Farragut State Park
  • July 18: US-95 — approximately 6 miles from Fawn Lane to the Idaho Highway 1 junction
  • July 19: US-95 — approximately 19 miles from Samuels Road to Tamarack Street

Crews will repaint the highways after sealcoating. All work is expected to be completed by early August.

Expect temporary closures this evening on US-95 near Bonners Ferry as crews remove damaged sign

Crews are currently working to stabilize and prepare to remove the overhead sign structure on the Kootenai River Bridge just north of Bonners Ferry this evening after it appears to have been struck by a vehicle.

The steel sign structure, which is estimated to weigh approximately 10,000 pounds, remains bolted in place next to the northbound lanes, but the post near the southbound lanes has become detached. The sign structure remains upright but could be blown over by strong winds.

Crews are on site, ready to close the bridge to traffic if necessary. ITD has contracted a private company to remove the sign with a crane, which is expected to arrive in the next few hours. All lanes will be closed during removal of the sign structure. However, the bridge may close even earlier if strong winds threaten the stability of the damaged sign structure.

During the removal of the sign, all lanes will be closed. Travelers should expect other traffic impacts while crews set up the crane, remove the sign and disassemble the sign and the crane.

Please exercise caution in the area as ITD adjusts traffic flow while addressing this safety issue.

 

Repaving of US-95 through Plummer to begin late June

Work will begin during the week of June 25 to repave ten miles of US-95 through Plummer to Moctileme Creek.

Travelers can expect alternating, one-way traffic during construction, which is scheduled to last until mid-August. Crews plan to be on site Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The highway will open to two lanes at night, and alternating entrances to businesses in town will be accessible at all times.

For the latest traffic impacts during construction, check 511.

Sandpoint bridges to be inspected this week

The Long Bridge on US-95 and the adjacent pedestrian bridge near Sandpoint will undergo inspection this week to assess the need for future repairs.

Inspectors will use a boat and fly a drone underneath both bridges at the beginning of the week, with an on-the-bridge inspection of the Long Bridge on Thursday that starts at 7 a.m. and could last the entire day.

No lane closures are anticipated on the Long Bridge during this routine inspection, but travelers should expect slightly shifted lanes and be aware of reduced speeds throughout the area. The pedestrian bridge will not be impacted.

On June 14, an in-depth examination of both bridges will take place where inspectors will use the department’s newest UBIT, or under bridge inspection truck. This UBIT, which the bridge inspection crew named Kenny, has the ability to maneuver inspectors up to 62 feet under, around and in the substructure of bridges to check for signs of stress and recommend maintenance work.

Final repairs for both bridges are scheduled for 2022 and will help extend the service lives of the structures. The pedestrian bridge, which formerly served vehicular traffic across Lake Pend Oreille, was built in 1956, and the Long Bridge was built in 1981.

To follow Kenny’s path through the state, follow ITD on Facebook and use #catchKenny.

I-90 detoured through Mullan on June 6

Traffic on Interstate 90 near Lookout Pass will be detoured on June 6 through the town of Mullan to allow crews to repair damage to the interstate, which is currently under construction in that area.  

The detour is expected to start at 5 a.m. and last until midday. Although speed will be reduced through town, interstate traffic will have priority at major intersections, which will be controlled by flaggers. 

The increase in traffic during construction has led to accelerated wear on one of the lanes. After repairs are finished, traffic will be able to pass through the work zone. For the latest updates, check 511.

Construction is currently underway to replace 1.5 miles of the concrete interstate. Work is expected to conclude in October.

Safety improvements on US-95 in Bonners Ferry to begin next week

South Hill

Reconstruction of US-95 through Bonners Ferry will begin during the week of May 14 and is expected to improve safety.

Crews will work from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Some night work will be permitted. One lane in each direction will remain open during the day, but night work will require alternating, one-way traffic.

To learn more about this project, the public may attend a meeting on Thursday, May 10 at 1 p.m. at the Bonners Ferry Visitor Center. Project staff will be available to provide construction details.

This two-year project will reconstruct the highway and improve pedestrian facilities between Alderson Lane and the bridge over the Kootenai River. Construction between Madison Street and the bridge will end in early October, and Madison Street to Alderson Lane will be reconstructed in 2019.

The highway will be expanded to three lanes and will include wider shoulders that can be used as bike lanes and separated sidewalks on both sides. The aging signal at Alderson Lane will not be replaced by the state after widening the highway.

After construction, the highway will transition from four lanes to two lanes at the bottom of the South Hill, addressing safety concerns by allowing drivers to merge before the crosswalk and the Madison Street intersection at the top of the hill. Reconfiguration of lanes is intended to reduce speeding, and vehicles entering the highway from Ash Street will also be able to use new acceleration lanes.

Construction to extend improvements from Alderson Lane to Labrosse Hill Street could begin as early as 2020.

Throughout construction, the public may receive updates by visiting the project website, checking 511 or attending weekly meetings held every Thursday. Once a schedule is finalized, details about the weekly meetings will be posted to the website.

Reconstruction of I-90 near Mullan continues

I-90 Mullan

Construction of 1.5 miles of Interstate 90 near Mullan will start the week of April 30 and last until October.

One lane in each direction will remain open at all times during construction.

Last year crews reconstructed 4.5 miles of I-90 between Mullan and the state line. Work this year will extend to the west of that project and be completed fall 2019.

Bridge replacement in Oldtown begins next week

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin construction to replace the bridge between Oldtown, Idaho, and Newport, Washington, that spans the railroad tracks beginning the week of April 30. Completion is scheduled for fall 2019.

The existing bridge, built in 1966, has reached the end of its design life. The new bridge will feature two lanes with a center median, lights and sidewalks.

The bridge will be demolished and rebuilt one half at a time. Traffic will be reduced to one lane across the structure with signals on either end guiding motorists through the work zone. Construction will pause during the winter months and resume in the spring. During that time, both lanes will be open.

Additionally, the intersection of Fourth Street and Idaho Highway 41 near the bridge will be closed for improvements.

Throughout construction, check 511 for the latest impacts.

 

Work on I-90 Blue Creek Bay Bridges east of CDA begins Monday

Blue Creek Bay Bridge

Repair work on the westbound bridge over Blue Creek Bay on Interstate 90 is anticipated to begin Monday, April 23 and last until October. After a winter shutdown, work will begin on the eastbound bridge next spring and continue through the fall.

Work this year will focus on the deck and support structures of the westbound bridge. Traffic will shift to the eastbound bridge and be reduced to one lane in each direction.

Work on the westbound bridge deck will cease this October, but work on the support structures underneath both bridges will continue. Four lanes will be open for traffic during the winter shutdown.

Once work starts on the eastbound bridge, traffic will be reduced to one lane and shifted onto the westbound bridge.

While work is underway, those recreating on the water will be directed away from the construction zone for safety reasons.

To receive periodic updates about this and other projects in the area, send an email to Megan.Sausser@itd.idaho.gov to sign up for the CDA Traffic Impacts e-newsletter. For the most up-to-date information, check 511.idaho.gov.

Pet peeves, anonymous notes and 25 years

Sherry Mundt has a particular pet peeve. She doesn’t like trash, and she really doesn’t like seeing it next to highways.

Her 680-acre farm sits along US-95 just eight miles south of Coeur d’Alene. Situated along a major route for locals and waste management services, she has seen her fair share of waste pile up next to the road.

“I’d be driving to town or heading back home, and I’d notice trash,” Mundt said. “I’d be mentally picking it up while I drove.”

Mundt finds the litter bothersome, and she takes pride in her community. That’s why 25 years ago she became an active participant in the Adopt-A-Highway program—a branch of the Idaho Transportation Department that connects volunteers with supplies and services to reduce trash along highways.

Although Mundt tends to other sections, the one-mile stretch in front of her property is her primary focus. Twice a year she spends 30 hours removing 30-40 bags of litter from that section alone.

Robin Karsann, an Adopt-A-Highway coordinator for North Idaho, said volunteers like Mundt collect enough trash from the area to fill 20 residential garbage trucks every year.

“More than 2,000 volunteers gave nearly 5,000 hours last year,” Karsann said. “That is a significant savings and outstanding benefit to our community.”

Throughout the years, Mundt said she had her own community of cheerleaders. Motorists passing by would honk to show their support and crews with the Idaho Transportation Department would offer assistance.

Then five years ago a new form of support found its way to Mundt’s mailbox. Little notes of gratitude and gift cards signed by neighbors she had yet to meet appeared regularly after her semiannual cleaning sessions.

“I kept them because they were encouraging,” Mundt said. “I’d read them before I signed up for another couple of years. They inspired me to keep doing what I was doing.”

It was not until this last January that Mundt met those neighborhood supporters, Mike and Kathy Barnes from the Mica Flats area, at another community function.

“Turns out they would occasionally take their children out to pick up trash, too,” Mundt said. “They said they wanted their children to learn to be like me.”

Mundt, now in her early 60s, will resign from Adopt-A-Highway duties next April, but she said she does not doubt that her community will continue in her stead.

“The ongoing dedication of community members like Mundt who continue to help keep our highways clean year after year cannot be appreciated enough,” Karsann said.

For anyone who would like to adopt a stretch of highway, there are more than 100 miles still available in North Idaho. Interested volunteers may contact the Coeur d’Alene office at (208) 772-1200 or visit itd.idaho.gov/road-mtce.