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 itdprojects.org. To find traveler information, visit 511.idaho.gov.

ITD Director Ness presents to U.S. House Subcommittee July 11

ITD Director Brian Ness presented to the Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives on July 11 regarding the importance of research and innovation in maximizing transportation budgets.

It was likely the most significant national stage for an ITD Director since Darrell Manning was the national American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) president in the early ‘70s.

Ness, who also serves as the Chairman of the AASHTO Special Committee on Research and Innovation, spoke to the Subcommittee about the many benefits that come from investment in transportation research. Ness, along with a few other state DOT chiefs, advocated for more federal investment, saying it would serve to multiply those positive results.

“For example, the state of Indiana spent $3.9 million on research projects in 2017 and they report that five of those research projects saved the state just under $190 million,” explained Ness. “What a great return on investment, saving 46 dollars for every dollar spent on research!”

He added that ITD used federal research dollars to help develop a new concrete mix called ‘High Early Strength Concrete’ for use in accelerated bridge construction. “That study proved the new mix can replace Ultra-High Performance Concrete, which costs $10,000 to $15,000 per cubic yard, and reduce the cost to $800 per cubic yard –a cost reduction of more than 90%.”

Ness was joined by Minnesota DOT Assistant Commissioner Tim Henkel in presenting to the subcommittee. Henkel also spoke about beefing up funding for the Federal Highway Administration’s Exploratory Advanced Research program.

“FHWA has a good program, but its funding level – just $6 million annually – is rather low,” he explained. “Universities ought to be the best sources for carrying out fundamental research, but matching requirements and program directives seeking near-term solutions appear to be resulting in a preponderance of applied research that is crowding out fundamental research.”

Director Ness concluded his testimony with one last push for funding:

“By coordinating, collaborating, pooling and leveraging time and money, and utilizing the combined knowledge and expertise of our diverse research community, we are making significant contributions and improvements to the advancement of our nation’s transportation system,” he explained.

Ness explained that investment in research, development and subsequent innovation is not only a wise use of taxpayer money, but also helps these states find ways to build or repair roads and bridges faster and more efficiently.

Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., the subcommittee’s chairwoman, introduced the topic by saying “Investing in research and development is critical to developing smart, resilient, and cost-effective transportation infrastructure for the future.”

Quotes are courtesy of AASHTO.

Multi-year construction project underway to improve US-95 and ID-53

A truck crosses the railroad bridge on ID-53 just west of US-95.

Construction is underway on Idaho Highway 53, reducing the highway to one lane with flaggers on scene as crews widen the shoulders between US-95 and Ramsey Road.

Lane closures are expected during the day for approximately two weeks, and trees west of US-95 will also be removed to accommodate a new alignment for ID-53.

This is the beginning of construction to reconfigure several roadways near the current US-95 junctions with ID-53 and Garwood Road north of Hayden, with project completion planned for fall 2021.

Work in August includes the installation of a temporary signal at ID-53 and Ramsey Road to help with extra traffic during later detours. Signal installation is scheduled to take a week, with intermittent lane closures and flaggers expected in the area at that time. A permanent signal will be placed in 2022 under a different project.

Following the temporary signal installation, traffic will be detoured in late August as the bridge over the railroad and the new interchange for US-95 and ID-53 are built, with work expected to end fall 2020.

View a video of the design for the US-95, ID-53 interchange.

Traffic on US-95 will not be impacted for the majority of construction, but traffic on ID-53 will be detoured around the bridge and interchange construction to Garwood Road via Old US-95.

In 2020 and 2021, frontage roads and an overpass at Garwood Road will be constructed. Total improvements, though not all awarded to contractors, are funded primarily with an estimated $41 million from the GARVEE program and another $13.9 million in federal aid.

Email updates are available by subscribing at itdprojects.org/us95id53.

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 itdprojects.org. To find traveler information, visit 511.idaho.gov.

Repairs begin next week to US-95 slide near Naples

US-95 Naples slide

Traffic on US-95 will be reduced to one lane as repairs to a slide near Naples start Monday, July 15.

Temporary signals and flaggers will control traffic over the next two months as crews excavate the existing slope and place rocks to improve drainage and stabilize the hill.

Work this week will improve Starlight Road for use during construction but will not affect US-95 traffic.

The hill slid onto the road in March 2017 and was captured on video by an ITD employee.

Watch the video.

Earlier improvements to the slide area included removing material, installing a barrier to catch debris and investigating subsurface conditions. Permanent repairs were designed and bid last fall, with construction timed this year to avoid springtime moisture and high water tables.

Read more about emergency repairs online at itdprojects.org/us95naplesslide.

Work on I-90 and US-95 begins this week

US-95 CDA FASTLANE

Two projects will begin this week in the Coeur d’Alene area.

  • Nighttime resurfacing of Interstate 90 between the state line and the Northwest Boulevard exit will eliminate rutting. Starting Wednesday night (July 10), drivers can expect single-lane closures on I-90, with the first lane closed in the eastbound direction. Ramps will be closed as they are repaved. Conditions will revert to normal during the day, with resurfacing lasting until September. More information is available atorg/statelineresurfacing.
  • A two-year project to maximize mobility on US-95 in CDA and Hayden will start today (July 8) with surveying of the adjacent path. Traffic impacts are not expected until the following week when ADA upgrades begin. Changes are funded by a $5.1 million federal grant with match money from ITD, the city of Coeur d’Alene and the city of Hayden to create uniform signal spacing and add capacity on side streets. Lane closures will be possible during turn lane construction, and turning/through movements will not be allowed at non-signalized intersections during and after curbed median installation. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be affected for most of the season with detours and closed crosswalks. Work this year is planned to end in November. More information, specifically on scheduling and pedestrian impacts, is available at org/us95intersections.

Travelers may subscribe for email updates on the US-95 intersections project online. Traffic impacts across the state are available at 511.idaho.gov.

ID-41 resurfacing between Oldtown and Blanchard begins July 15

Starting Monday, July 15 work will start to resurface approximately seven miles of ID-41 between Roberts Lane near Blanchard to Old Priest River Road near Oldtown. Nearly all permitted approaches will be paved during construction, which is planned to start in mid-July and end in August.

Crews will be on site during the day, with a pilot car leading alternating, one-way traffic. Flaggers will be stationed at each approach as work progresses. Both lanes of ID-41 will open at night when crews are not on site.

To learn more, visit itdprojects.org/id41blanchardoldtown.

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 itdprojects.org/us95thorncreektomoscow.
  • 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 itdprojects.org/us-95-culdesac-canyon-passing-lane.
  • 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 adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov 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 adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov.

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.

Transportation department seeks public comment on planned projects in North Idaho

Aerial shot of I-90 near state line.

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 Idaho include:

As part of balancing the budget and the needs of the northern five counties, some project schedules were adjusted, including the redesign of the US-95/Lincoln Way/Walnut Avenue intersection in CDA. That project was delayed from 2021 to 2026.

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 adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov 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 adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov.

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.

ITD lowers speed limit on I-84 in Caldwell to 65 MPH

I-84 speed limit reduction in Caldwell

Following a speed study of I-84 in the urbanized parts of the Treasure Valley, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is reducing the speed limit on the western side of Caldwell to 65 MPH.

The current speed limit on I-84 traveling west goes from 65 MPH to 80 MPH after the Notus/Parma Exit (Exit 26). Due to the high number of vehicles using Middleton Exit (Exit 25) both east- and westbound coupled with varying speeds of thru traffic and merging vehicles, the Department determined a speed reduction was warranted. The 65 MPH speed zone will now extend west of Exit 25. Crews will place new speed limit signs today.

“We observed significant variations in speeds, with entering traffic speeding up to merge with I-84 traffic, which was slowing for the speed limit change,” said ITD Traffic Technical Engineer Erika Bowen. “This resulted in a number of near misses between cars on the Interstate and those looking to enter. Given the high demand at the Middleton Exit, we believe the change will improve the driving conditions in this area.”

ITD routinely studies sections of the State Highways System to ensure the safety, mobility, and economic opportunity of the traveling public is best served. Staff looks at the pavement condition, crash history, geometry, signage, and observed driver behavior when considering changes to the highway.

Over the last five years, growth near the Middleton Exit has seen an increase of 5,000 vehicles per day added to this section of I-84. During the evening commute, congestion often occurs at Exit 25 causing backups on the westbound off-ramps. ITD is looking at solutions for this separate situation to improve the efficiency of the interchange.