US-95 construction close to Winchester nears winter shutdown

Picture showing flagger on US-95 in Culdesac Canyon in November 2019

Work that begin in April to extend the passing lane on US-95 near Winchester will be mostly complete for the season after crews finishing paving on Friday, November 15.

Paving operations are currently underway, with the highway reduced to one lane of alternating traffic. Once paving is complete, the speed limit will revert to 65 mph but could be adjusted as necessary throughout winter.

Miscellaneous work will continue after paving but all work is expected to be done by Thanksgiving.

“This year, we were able excavate enough rock for the southernmost mile of the passing lane and upgrade five culverts to be more fish friendly,” said Curtis Arnzen, ITD’s resident engineer for the project. “Construction next year will be similar to what it was like this year, though there won’t be as many blastings scheduled.”

Construction will resume in March 2020 to finish excavating and paving the three-mile passing lane and replace the remaining four culverts. The passing lane will not be open to the public until the entire project is complete next fall.

The existing passing lane from milepost 289 to milepost 290.5 was constructed in 2016. By 2027, ITD plans to have a completed passing lane between Winchester and Culdesac for an estimated $50 million.

Brief closures on US-12 east of Lewiston planned Tuesday morning for utility work

Two 15-minute closures are scheduled Tuesday morning on US-12 east of Lewiston to allow Avista to install a new electric distribution line.

The first closure will be near the 36th Street intersection at 7:30 a.m. A helicopter will transport a power line over the highway and across the river as part of the Clearwater River Distribution Project. Traffic will be released after the first crossing and then held again for one more crossing.

The Port of Entry will not be affected but traffic control devices may be in place in the area until 10 a.m.

For information on the project, please call Avista.

Repairs to flood damage on ID-162 near Kamiah scheduled for mid-November

Eroded shoulder on ID-162 near Kamiah in August.

Repairs are scheduled Wednesday through Saturday (Nov. 13 – 16) to address damage from springtime flooding on Idaho Highway 162 four miles south of Kamiah.

Flaggers will guide one lane of traffic through the work zone between mileposts 18-19 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No traffic impacts are expected at night.

Crews will place large rocks against the streambank to support the highway shoulder and minimize future erosion concerns.

Paving of US-12 near Orofino starts Thursday

Car drives on deteriorating pavement on US-12 between Big Canyon (Peck) and Orofino

Crews will start paving nearly five miles of US-12 west of Orofino this Thursday, September 19. They are expected to remain on site until the middle of October, though traffic impacts after paving will be minimal.

Replacing deteriorating pavement from Big Canyon Road to Tuning Drive is estimated to take one week, with drivers guided by a pilot car through the single-lane work zone.

Work will take place during daylight hours, and the highway will open fully at night.

Other weather-dependent work includes adding rumble strips and pavement marking. Earlier this year, guardrail was replaced and signage was updated in advance of paving.

Closures for US-95 construction in Culdesac Canyon shifted into evening commute to accommodate dwindling daylight hours

Equipment on a trail above US-95 in Culdesac Canyon helps with rock removal to extend the passing lane.

With shorter daylight hours, construction delays on US-95 in Culdesac Canyon near Winchester are shifting earlier and expected to affect evening commutes as fall conditions require a change in the contractor’s blasting schedule.

Since construction began in April to extend a passing lane through the rocky canyon, closures for blasting have typically been scheduled to start at 7 p.m., but dwindling daylight now requires blasting to occur before sunset.

Next week, rock excavation and cleanup activities will begin at 6:30 p.m., and the following week they will begin at 6 p.m.

Temporary closures are still expected to last up to 1.5 hours, with up to three closures possible each week. They are advertised on and on message signs stationed near the project.

Work this season is expected to end by November, with the entire project scheduled for completion in fall 2020.

Pavement preservation on several highways in North-Central Idaho begins this week

US-95 between Lapwai and Spalding Bridge, to be sealcoated summer 2019

Sealcoats to preserve existing pavement on several highways across North-Central Idaho will begin Thursday, July 25. All work will be done by September.

Flaggers will direct traffic to run on one lane of loose gravel through these work zones. All lanes will be open at night when crews are not working.

The following routes are planned to be sealcoated:

  • Idaho Highway 8 between Ruby Creek and Elk River: 10 miles starting July 25
  • Idaho Highway 7 between Orofino and Ahsahka: 4 miles starting July 31
  • Idaho Highway 11 between Greer and the top of the grade: 8 miles starting Aug. 1
  • Idaho Highway 64 between Kamiah and milepost 30.8: 4 miles starting Aug. 5
  • US-95 from Grangeville north to the concrete section: 12 miles starting Aug. 7
  • US-95 Cottonwood business loop: 2 miles starting Aug. 9
  • US-95 near Craigmont from Lauer Lane to Westlake Road: 2 miles starting August 12
  • US-95 passing lane in Culdesac Canyon at milepost 289: starting Aug. 13
  • US-95 between Lapwai and the Spalding Bridge: 4 miles starting Aug. 14
  • US-12 dike route in Lewiston: 2 miles starting Aug. 15

Note that dates and order of work are subject to change. Most sections will take two days or less to sealcoat.

Also called chip sealing, applying sealcoats protects the surface of the road and extends the lifespan of the pavement. A sticky slurry is sprayed on the road, rock chips are applied on top of the slurry and traffic compresses the chips into place for a long-lasting seal.

Reduced speeds are required on fresh sealcoats to prevent loose rocks from flying up. Following product application, work zones will be broomed off and restriped in groups, rather than one at a time.

Repairs to Greer Bridge begin next Monday

Repairs to the Greer Bridge will start Monday, July 22, with temporary signals impacting both Idaho Highway 11 and US-12 traffic until construction is complete in late September.

One lane at a time will be open over the bridge, and drivers may experience up to 15-minute delays.

This summer the driving surface will be improved, and supporting beams will be painted to protect them from rusting and to keep the bridge in service longer.

The structure was built in 1954.

To learn more about construction projects in your area, visit To find traveler information, visit

New turn lanes added to highways near Deary and Harvard starting July 22

Construction starts Monday, July 22 to add turn lanes to Idaho Highway 9 near Deary and Harvard this summer.

Both right- and left-turn lanes will be built on ID-6 to access ID-9 in Harvard, as well on ID-8 to access ID-9 in Deary.

Work will last until late September, with flaggers stationed at the intersections. One intersection at a time will be improved, and there will be no impacts at night when crews are not working.

To learn more about construction projects in your area, visit To find traveler information, visit

Transportation department seeks public comment on planned projects in North-Central Idaho

Two cranes help with 2019 construction of a passing lane in Culdesac Canyon just north of Winchester.

The Idaho Transportation Department is seeking public comment from July 2 – August 2 on the FY 2020-26 draft of the Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP), and all transportation stakeholders are encouraged to participate.

The ITIP is a seven-year “roadmap” for planning and developing transportation projects, including:

  • Highways and bridges
  • Bicycle and pedestrian facilities
  • Highway safety
  • Railroad crossing safety
  • Airports
  • Public transportation
  • Transportation planning
  • Freight

The transportation department is offering an online, interactive map that allows users to choose specific project categories and learn about work that is planned for the area of Idaho they’re interested in. It’s called the Idaho Transportation Project Map.

View the draft ITIP and interactive map.

The draft ITIP document lists projects by highway route and location, identifies projected years for right-of-way acquisition, preliminary engineering, construction and estimated project costs. It also lists local construction projects that are federally funded.

The projects start in 2020, and go through 2026. Notable upcoming projects in North-Central Idaho include:

  • US-95 expansion between Thorncreek and Moscow beginning in 2020, pending land acquisition and a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. More information is available at
  • US-95 expansion through Culdesac Canyon. Ongoing work will be followed with construction of the final two phases in 2023 to add a passing lane between Winchester and Culdesac. More information is available at
  • Portions of US-12 between Kooskia and Montana that were not addressed with 2018 construction will be resurfaced and possibly widened with the earliest project scheduled for 2022.

Public comments will help the department determine if proposed projects meet the department’s three main objectives of improving safety, mobility and economic opportunity.

Production of the ITIP is a year-round process that relies on input from elected officials, citizens, tribal governments, other state and federal agencies, Idaho’s metropolitan planning organizations, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, and other interested organizations.

Comments can be e-mailed to or mailed to ITIP – Comments, Attn: Adam Rush, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID  83707-1129. Paper or CD copies of the ITIP will be provided upon request by contacting Rush at (208) 334-8119 or by e-mail at

A request for a paper copy or CD also can be mailed to: Idaho Transportation Department, Adam Rush, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID  83707-1129.

A printed copy can be reviewed at any of ITD’s district offices in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Boise, Shoshone, Pocatello and Rigby.

All comments on the draft will be reviewed after Aug. 2. After approval by the Idaho Transportation Board, the ITIP is submitted to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Extended closure on US-95 at Culdesac Canyon expected tonight

Photo of crane that fell June 29, 2019 while installing a temporary bridge for US-95 construction in Culdesac Canyon Phase 2.

Blasting and equipment removal are planned near ongoing work to add a passing lane in Culdesac Canyon on US-95, requiring intermittent, hours-long closures from 7 p.m. tonight to 4 a.m. tomorrow morning (July 2).

A blast is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., during which the road will be closed and not reopen until after debris is cleared, approximately 1.5 hours later.

Between 10 p.m. and 4 am, drivers can expect longer closures as crews remove a crane that fell Saturday afternoon onto US-95. Traffic will be allowed to pass around midnight, but between midnight and 4 a.m., drivers may not be able to pass through the area for up to three hours. No detours will be posted.

The crane fell while installing a temporary bridge. No one was injured during the incident, and crews were able to open US-95 to one lane later that afternoon.

Blasting operations are planned for the next two years in this area, with updates posted to and displayed on message signs near the project. Traffic impacts are not expected July 3-5, though crews will be working in the area.