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.

St. Maries bridge work ramps up in April

In early April, crews will start work on the driving surface of the bridge over the St. Joe River on Idaho Highway 3 in St. Maries.

Two lanes of traffic will run on the newest portion of the bridge, with this and other weather-dependent work, such as the placing of more sidewalks and the paving of Meadowhurst Drive, scheduled for completion this summer. Other remaining work includes placing an overlay and installing fencing on the railroad bridge, which opened to traffic in January 2019.

In the meantime, a small crew is still on the construction site performing work that is not weather-dependent.

Upon completion, both bridges will include one lane in each direction with a shoulder and sidewalk on each side. Work also includes reconstructing the highway to match the upgraded bridges, replacing guardrail and signs in several locations and improving the adjoining intersections.

Utility work ongoing in Bonners Ferry for US-95 reconstruction

Traffic flows through construction on US-95 near the Kootenai River Bridge in Bonners Ferry.

From 2018: Traffic flows through construction on US-95 near the Kootenai River Bridge in Bonners Ferry.

During the month of March, work on the east side of US-95 from Madison Street to Alderson Lane will relocate utilities in advance of paving.

In the next few weeks, crews will remove some of the sidewalks and drainage infrastructure. Some trees will be cleared away, and the vacant building near Lincoln Street will be demolished. This work could require some temporary lane closures, but the major roadway impacts for the season are expected to start in April and last until October.

Once paving starts, one lane will remain open in each direction. Any nighttime work will allow alternating, one-way traffic. Sidewalks will be closed for the duration of the project, and city street intersections will be closed temporarily as they are reconstructed.

The signal at Alderson Lane will be removed later this year.

Work this season will wrap up the initial stage of reconstruction from the Kootenai River Bridge to Alderson Lane. Work from Alderson Lane to Labrosse Hill Street is scheduled to start in 2022 and end in 2023. After construction, there will be a continuous three-lane section through town complete with pedestrian facilities.

For more information, visit the project website.

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.”

Extreme winter weather closes roads, stretches resources

A series of winter storms pounded Idaho this week, bringing heavy snowfall to the region and causing multiple road closures. The extreme weather forced ITD to rally personnel and equipment to meet the challenge. The department shifted equipment and staffing resources as best as possible around the state. It has been all-hands-on deck for much of the last two weeks as crews continue working hard to plow and clear roads as quickly and safely as possible.

From new snow to low visibility, drifting, and several avalanches or threats of slides, the department was hit hard in several areas. The worst winter weather seemed to reside in eastern Idaho, while avalanche conditions in District 3 and District 4 made several popular routes impassable.

“ITD’s primary mission is maintaining the safety and mobility of Idaho’s transportation system,” said ITD Chief Deputy Scott Stokes. “We only close roads when the traveling public and our ITD crews are in jeopardy. If a road is closed, that means it is completely impassable and unsafe for travel.”

For current road conditions and updates, please check the department’s traveler advisory site, 511.idaho.gov.

The department also has a winter readiness website. Please visit Idaho Ready.

ITD launches comprehensive campaign to raise awareness about Star Card-Idaho’s Real ID

Star Card

BOISE – A year after Idaho began issuing the Star Card, Idaho’s Real ID, five percent of Idahoans have applied for the card. Without it on a driver’s license, citizens won’t be able to board a plane or enter a federal facility.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security will require a Star Card, or other approved credential such as a passport, to get through security at airports, courthouses, and military bases.

“Unless you have a passport or another compliant identification, you will need to get a Star Card – Idaho’s Real ID to fly on an airplane or visit federal buildings,” Governor Brad Little said. “The last thing I want is for a family or business traveler to miss a vacation or an important work trip because they didn’t get their Star Cards.”

In addition, Governor Little said, “Getting your Star Card soon instead of waiting until the last minute will help minimize long lines at DMV offices.”

To date, 70,000 of 1.25 million licensed drivers in Idaho have a Star Card.

To raise awareness of the deadline, the DMV is launching a new multi-faceted campaign consisting of videos, advertising in Idaho airports, and on social media and travel sites. The campaign message focuses on the Star Card being your “license to fly” and getting it now so “you don’t get left behind.”

The DMV has developed a helpful “Add the Star” online tool the public can use to determine the documents they need to bring to obtain a Star Card. It is also mailing renewal postcards to Idahoans whose driver’s licenses or IDs are going to expire, urging them to consider getting a Star Card.

“The need for a Real ID is here. We are asking Idaho citizens to please go to your local county DMV office as soon as possible to help avoid long lines as we get close to October 1, 2020.” said Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness. “Wait times are back to normal at all offices across the state. To make the renewal process for getting a Star Card easy, visit the ITD website first to ensure you come to your DMV office with the right documents to avoid multiple trips.”

The REAL ID Act of 2005 was enacted by Congress as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.”

For a full list of compliant credentials, visit itd.idaho.gov/starcard

For more information go to the Star Card brochure.