North Idaho bridges set for replacement this year, starting with Butcher Creek on ID-13

Bridge over Little Hangman Creek on ID-60 is one of seven structures being replaced from 2019 to 2021.

Picture of bridge at Little Hangman Creek. 

Update as of May 21: Contractors now anticipate starting at Little Hangman Creek on Wednesday, May 29 and possibly starting at Butcher Creek in July. 

Four bridges and three culverts from Grangeville to the Canadian border are scheduled for replacement over the next three years, beginning with Butcher Creek on Idaho Highway 13 near Grangeville.

Construction on Butcher Creek will start in late May and be completed around August, with the bridge reduced to one lane of alternating traffic.

Other structures scheduled for replacement this year include, in relative order, Little Hangman Creek on ID-60 near the Washington borer, Texas Creek on ID-11 near Weippe and Round Prairie Creek on US-95 near the Canadian border.

In 2020, ID-6 over Santa Creek near Michael Road, ID-3 over Cedar Creek near Clarkia and ID-57 over Kalispell Creek near Nordman will be reconstructed.

Each structure is expected to take two or three months with simultaneous work possible. In general, they will be reduced to one lane with alternating traffic controlled by flaggers or temporary signals.

All work is expected to be completed by spring 2021, with some work possible over the winter. T. La Riviere Equipment & Excavation, Inc. will replace the seven structures for $8.8 million.

Learn more by visiting itdprojects.org/d1d2bridges.

Paving near Time Zone Bridge underway

Construction underway on US-95 near the Time Zone Bridge.

Work is ongoing to resurface 13 miles of US-95 north of the Time Zone Bridge. Construction began last week and is expected to wrap up in August.

The highway is reduced to one lane with alternating traffic controlled by flaggers. Drivers should expect up to 15-minute delays. Various pull outs on US-95 will be temporarily closed for a few hours at a time as the route is paved in the immediate area.

Contractors plan to work during weekdays, though some work at night and on the weekends may be necessary as construction continues.

During non-working hours and holidays, two lanes will be open. Learn more at itdprojects.org/us95goffto210.

US-95 to be repaved in and around Moscow this summer; work starts next week

US-95 over Moscow Mountain

Next week, contractors will start making improvements to US-95 in Moscow in advance of a large paving project this summer.

Beginning Monday, May 13, pedestrian facilities at Rodeo Drive and Pintail Lane will be brought up to current standards. Shoulder closures will be in place along with pedestrian and bicycle detours.

In early June, a section of road at the intersection of US-95 (South Washington Street) and East First Street will be resurfaced. Drivers can expect one lane open during the work. Pedestrian and bicycle detours will be in place as necessary.

As part of this project, Idaho Highway 66, from its intersection with US-95 to the Washington border, will be repaved in mid-June. Flaggers will be stationed at the intersection to guide traffic movements onto ID-66, which will be reduced to one lane.

In late June, contractors are scheduled to repave more than five miles between Rodeo Drive in Moscow and Four Mile Creek in Viola, including Moscow Mountain. During paving, US-95 will be reduced to one travel lane, with two lanes possible over the mountain.

Earlier work in May and July at Moscow Mountain will include installing a wall to help stabilize the hill, replacing the concrete guardrail on the west side and relocating a wildlife sensor. One lane will be closed for that work.

All work is expected to be completed by Poe Asphalt Paving, Inc. in late July for an estimated $2.3 million. Learn more at itdprojects.org/us95moscowtoviola.

ITD to modify east entrance of Aht’Wy Plaza this weekend to improve safety

Picture showing the existing spacing of the westbound right-turn lane into the east entrance of Aht'Wy Plaza on US-12 in Lewiston.

This weekend, May 10-12, ITD operations crews will make changes to the right-turn lane into the east entrance of Aht’Wy Plaza to improve safety for turning drivers. These improvements will precede construction of the planned interchange.

Crews will sealcoat the turn lane on Friday to mask existing striping and will return over the weekend to sweep away any loose rocks. The turn lane is scheduled to be repainted on Monday, May 13. Drivers can expect the turn lane to be closed for a few hours each day while crews are on site.

The turn lane will be shifted to provide more separation from the through lanes of traffic, and the stop bar for exiting drivers will be moved closer to traffic to improve line of sight.

View a simple graphic of the planned change.

Modifications will prevent vehicles turning into the plaza from obscurring other vehicles passing through the area. A joint road safety audit with the Nez Perce Tribe in January determined that this blocking effect was a factor in recent fatal crashes.

To sign up for updates and learn more about coordinated safety efforts near the plaza, visit the project website at itdprojects.org/ahtwyinterchange.

US-12 remains closed between Greer and Kamiah but could open tomorrow (April 13)

Some mud remains on US-12 between Kamiah and Greer.

Continued efforts by maintenance crews may allow US-12 between Greer and Kamiah to reopen tomorrow morning around 8 a.m.

“We are expecting some rain in the next day, but we are optimistic that there will be enough of a break in the weather to prevent more slides and allow us to reopen the road,” operations engineer Bob Schumacher said.

If there are no more slides, crews are on schedule to reopen the road, though there will be some restrictions. Drivers will be slowed to 35 mph for less than two miles near the worst slide area at milepost 63. That section of road is still covered by a thin layer of mud that could become slippery when wet.

Today crews continue to clear ditches, unclog culverts and haul material off the road. The highway will be monitored by maintenance forces over the weekend.

“Any time we have to close a road, we must find a balance between quickly reopening it and making sure it’s safe,” Schumacher said. “We thank drivers for their continued patience and hope to have the road open tomorrow.”

Motorists are advised to check for updates on 511.idaho.gov and to exercise caution while driving.

Work ongoing to extend passing lane on US-95 near Winchester

US-95 climbs through a green Culdesac Canyon.

Update from April 4: Although most complete closures of US-95 will be scheduled at night, during the second week of April, traffic will be stopped in both directions to allow the construction of an equipment access trail above the rock slope. Rock and other debris will be pushed off the slope into a catchment area for cleanup. Drivers should expect delays of at least 15 minutes; if rock falls onto the road, delays could become longer as crews remove it.

Speeds are now reduced on US-95 near Winchester as contractors replace signage and guardrail in advance of construction to extend the passing lane by three miles in the canyon.

For the next month, drivers can expect continued work on the shoulders as well as the creation of a trail for equipment to access the rock slope west of the highway. One lane in each direction will typically be open during the day, with work over the weekends possible throughout the season.

Once that work is completed around late April or early May, crews will start rock removal.

Rock removal will require some evening blasting and periodic closures of US-95. Closures will be scheduled around 6 p.m. and are expected to last approximately one hour, after which one lane of the highway may remain closed for cleanup.

“Closures will not be scheduled over the holidays and will generally be timed to avoid peak travel,” resident engineer Curtis Arnzen said. “Rock removal will be necessary for the duration of this project, and we strongly encourage drivers to plan around these closures if possible as there will be no detour in place.”

Closures will be advertised via digital message signs on the highway, 511 and updates on the project website.

Work this season is expected to end by November, with the entire project scheduled for completion in fall 2020. Construction in 2016 extended the passing lane in the area 1.5 miles, and future work will finish the passing lane between Winchester and Culdesac.

Nez Perce Tribe and ITD share new website for the Aht’Wy Plaza interchange

A semi passes the east entrance to Aht'Wy Plaza on US-12 near Lewiston.

Those interested in safety improvements at Aht’Wy Plaza on US-12 in Lewiston may now get their questions answered by visiting itdprojects.org/ahtwyinterchange.

The Nez Perce Tribe and ITD published a joint website that offers visitors the opportunity to view the final report from the road safety audit, understand how the plaza developed and subscribe for updates.

Email updates will be sent to all subscribers and posted to the website after team meetings about the planned interchange’s design, which is scheduled for completion in winter 2019/2020.

“The intent of the website is to provide updates on safety efforts as well as the design progress that is being made for the interchange at Aht’Wy Plaza,” said ITD engineering manager Doral Hoff. “It will be the best point of information on the interchange and any other improvements in the meantime.”

Work on US-12 improvements in Lewiston begins in March; open house Feb. 28

Vehicles move through the US-12 and 21st Street intersection, which is set for reconstruction in 2019.

The Idaho Transportation Department invites the public to attend an open house on Feb. 28 about upcoming improvements to the US-12 and 21st Street intersection.

The open house will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston (621 21st St.). Attendees will have an opportunity to view construction phasing and detours for work that is scheduled to begin in March and last through October.

Construction will improve safety and traffic flow at the busiest intersection in Central Idaho by creating a more standard intersection. View the full list of changes.

The intersection will remain closed for the season, with the following detours in place:

  • East of the intersection, drivers may use 24th Street to go south on 21st Street or 26th Street to go north on 21st Street to and from East Main Street. During construction, both streets will be converted to one-way streets.
  • West of the intersection, drivers may use 18th Street and Idaho Street to head north and south on 21st Street to US-12.

Through traffic on US-12 will not be detoured but will be reduced to one lane in each direction. A temporary signal will be installed at East Main Street and the highway to allow drivers to directly travel east on US-12 or Main Street.

Crews will typically be on site throughout the week during the day, but work is allowed on weekends. Visitors to Locomotive Park can expect short closures during the first phase of construction as city stormwater improvements are installed.

Interested members of the public may sign up for an e-newsletter by visiting the project website.

Recommendations to improve safety near Aht’Wy Plaza on U.S. 12/U.S. 95 delivered after conclusion of road safety audit

Traffic approaches on U.S. 12/95 near the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge in Lewiston.

An independent team assembled by the Idaho Transportation Department to conduct a road safety audit on U.S. 12/U.S. 95 in front of Aht’Wy Plaza delivered recommendations yesterday.

The team developed recommendations to address highway safety concerns near entrances to the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge after the deaths of two drivers within approximately three months. Team members came from Nez Perce Tribal Transportation Department, Nez Perce County Road and Bridge, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, the Federal Highway Administration, ITD and ITD’s Office of Highway Safety.

They recommended an interchange, which is already planned for the east entrance, as the long-term solution to provide safe access from the plaza to the highway. The following phased options could be pursued by the Nez Perce Tribe with ITD before its construction.

  • Short-term options: All incoming traffic would enter at the west approach, and all exiting traffic would leave at the east approach.
  • Later options: Three possible options were presented and could be implemented individually or jointly.
    • Add an acceleration lane for eastbound traffic at the east entrance.
    • Widen the westbound right turn lane at the east entrance to create separation between turning and thru traffic.
    • Create ThrU-turns for both intersections. All left turns into and out of the plaza would be accomplished by first turning right and then making a U-turn to reach a destination.

Lowering the speed limit was considered but not recommended.

As part of the audit, the team evaluated road conditions and driver behavior. Factors not considered in the audit include construction costs, environmental impacts and right of way impacts.

A final report will be issued in three to four weeks. ITD will start assessing the viability of all recommendations with the tribe in the meantime.

ITD joins officers on US-12 patrol near Aht’wy Plaza

Cop car sits at entrance to Clearwater River Casino and Lodge in Lewiston.

Highway safety partners came together on December 28 to raise drivers’ awareness near the Clearwater River Casino and Lodge on US-12 in Lewiston.

Officers from several local agencies participated in a special patrol near the entrances and allowed ITD traffic engineer Jared Hopkins to ride along.

For four hours, officers looked for traffic infractions and handed out a letter—instead of a ticket—to encourage drivers to discuss safety at home. Nearly forty drivers received a letter.

The letter read:

Dear Driver:

Today you’ll see extra officers from local law enforcement agencies in the area.

We’re working together for the safety of yourself and other drivers on this stretch of US-12/US-95 in front of Aht’wy Plaza (Clearwater River Casino and Lodge). We’ve lost too many from our community at this location recently, and we hope the sight of so many police cars reminds you to stay alert, whether you are exiting the casino or driving past it.

Several of these agencies will also be participating in a road safety audit next month to look at data regarding speed limits, crashes and driver behavior. The goal is to identify strategies to improve safety immediately in the area while design continues for a full interchange. The interchange’s design will be completed next winter, with construction following once funding is secured.

Our efforts today are to raise awareness, rather than write tickets. Follow our efforts on Twitter with #US12casino #live #patrolpartners and stay safe.

From Nez Perce Tribal Police, Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho State Police and Idaho Transportation Department

The joint patrol allowed law enforcement and ITD staff to watch the intersections together and share their thoughts.

“The patrol gave me the opportunity to observe, and I saw several vehicles failing to stop at the west exit and only one speeding,” Hopkins said. “I was also able to clarify how speed limits are set, so that the officers enforcing them knew why the limit is and remains 65 mph.”

Fresh perspectives will benefit the road safety audit, which is scheduled later this month.

View coverage of the event by typing in the hashtags or @IdahoITD on Twitter. For more information on commonly proposed ideas to improve safety in the area, visit the news tab at itd.idaho.gov/d2.