Priest River slide repairs begin

Cones show one slide on ID-57 north of Priest River.

Work began Monday, May 20 to repair two slides that fell in April 2017 on ID-57 just north of Priest River. Repairs are expected to take about one month, during which the highway will be reduced to one lane with a temporary signal present to guide alternating traffic. 

On the west side of the highway, crews will excavate material and construct a rock inlay to help stabilize the slope. On the east side, gabion baskets, or cages full of rocks, will be installed. The highway will also be reconstructed. 

 Earthworks Northwest is constructing improvements for approximately $540,000.

For updates, visit the project website at itdprojects.org/id57priestriverslides.

Adopt-A-Highway volunteers find treasures among the trash

Gretchen Sherlin holds a $100 bill, found while collecting litter along ID-20

Overlooked and underappreciated, those that collect trash along Idaho’s highways give more than they receive. But among the discarded plastic, paper, and aluminum Adopt-A-Highway volunteers Mike Harkins and Gretchen Sherlin have found their own reward.

The couple moved to Mountain Home two years ago, and soon began their charity. Clad in orange and wielding pokers, they picked their way along miles of desert. U.S. Highway 20 is a hot spot.

Mike Harkins stands beneath the Adopt-A-Highway sign with his and Gretchen's name
Mike Harkins stands beneath the Adopt-A-Highway sign with his and Gretchen’s name

Day by day, the faithful pair collected what would soon become a mountain of trash.

“We decided to start counting the number of cans we collected,” said Gretchen. “After one year, we have picked up 18,666.”

Their affinity for detail is the benefit to the community. Mike and Gretchen have recycled those cans, taking the time to remove the tabs and donate them to the Ronald McDonald House in Boise.

The cleanup does more than beautify the land. Besides the broken glass, twine, and disposable diapers, discarded items open up mysteries of personal stories.

“We’ve found cell phones, a laptop computer, a hide-a-bed,” said Gretchen. “We even found a certificate and plaque for a military person’s achievements.”

The couple also stumbles on their fair share of action.

“This past spring we were picking up trash along a rural road,” said Gretchen. “We noticed a herd of cattle and there was a cow frantically running back and forth, calling for her calf that was outside the fence. Realizing the drama unfolding before us, I herded the little calf about 1/4 mile on foot to a gate that my husband had opened, reuniting the little calf with its mother.”

The driving force for Mike and Gretchen is to improve the land and “giving the critters that live in the desert a cleaner habitat.”

It seems all that good karma pays off. While making the rounds, movement caught Gretchen’s eye. It was a piece of paper. Stooping down to pick up the piece of trash, as she’s done thousands of times before, Gretchen discovered this was no mere cast-off but a $100 bill, it’s previous owner nowhere in sight.

Was it a coincidence? A thank you from Mother Earth? Perhaps we’ll never know, but that piece of paper put a spring in Mike and Gretchen’s step as they collect a thousand more.

Interested in joining the Adopt-A-Highway program? Contact ITD at (208) 334-8000 or visit us online at www.itd.idaho.gov/road-mtce/?target=volunteer-activities.

I-84 will be detoured overnight May 22-23 for utility work

A line of power poles ready for electrical wires

Interstate 84 will be closed between the Karcher/Midland and Northside interchanges from 10 p.m. Wednesday, May 22 to 5 a.m. Thursday, May 23 to remove power lines above the highway.

A detour route will be in place. Motorists will exit I-84 at the interchanges and follow a detour along Karcher Road. Flaggers will direct traffic. Detour map below.

I-84 detour map for may 22, 2109

The power lines are being removed in preparation of ITD’s plans to begin widening I-84 in this area. The closures will be rescheduled in the case of inclement weather.

For more information, visit itdprojects.org/84Corridor. To receive construction updates; text 84corridor to 22828. Drive Idaho, ITD’s new podcast series on all things I-84 in Canyon County, is available for download on Spotify, iTunes, Google Play Music and other major podcast sharing sites.

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 reminds drivers to be mindful in work zones

BOISE – Every spring, with road-construction season fast approaching, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) reminds motorists to drive carefully through work zones — for their own safety and the safety of construction workers. This year, ITD will hold events around the state during National Work Zone Awareness Week, April 8-12.

Across the U.S., there were 799 workers and motorists killed in work zone crashes during 2017 — 82% were drivers and their passengers, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

In Idaho, there were 15 work zone fatalities from 2013-2017, with 1,960 crashes in work zones during that same time period. Drivers are asked to put away distractions and pay extra attention to their surroundings.

“Work zones can be the most hazardous areas on our state highway system,” said ITD Safety Manager Randall Danner. “We urge drivers to use extreme caution when passing through these areas so they can arrive at their destination safely and construction workers can return home to their loved ones.” Safer driving means safer work zones for all.

ITD continually takes steps to improve employee safety. Last fall, the department shifted to high-visibility yellow vests to stand out from the orange barrels and equipment on the side of the road.

ITD also recommends a common-sense approach to driving in work zones:

– Slow down and drive at the posted speed limit or at speeds appropriate for conditions.
– Adhere to traffic signs and follow the directions of flaggers and pilot cars, when present. Prepare for heavy equipment operating in the area.
– Watch for altered traffic patterns or reduced lane widths. Devote your full attention to driving and avoid distractions such as cell-phone use.
– Check before leaving home to determine whether you might encounter highway construction. Call 5-1-1, check 511.idaho.gov or download the 511 app.
– Expect delays and exercise patience.
– Always wear a seat belt.

“Staying safe is an intentional act,” Danner added. “Following these simple precautions will help ensure the safety of drivers, passengers and construction workers.”

“As soon as we put our feet on the road, we are in our office,” ITD Emergency Management Planner Neal Murphy said. “The traveling public should give all workers a break by slowing down and/or moving over.”

“Whether it is a short-duration event or a long-term construction zone, we need to stay safe,” he added.

Here are a few work zone safety videos ITD will be using throughout the state to reinforce the safety message:

Highway Worker (60 sec.)
Family Vacation (60 sec.)
Business Commuter (60 sec.)
Combined Video (60 sec.)

 

Work Zone Safety Awareness Week is April 8-12