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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Idaho Highway 97 is scheduled to be closed this week to allow construction of a pedestrian tunnel for Camp Easton north of Harrison. The closure is expected to begin Tuesday, May 7 and last no later than May 16.
Drivers are advised to use Burma Road as a detour while the 10-foot wide tunnel is being constructed at the current location of the camp’s crosswalk.
The tunnel and associated project features are funded by a $230,000 grant from the federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP). East Side Highway District sponsored the application. The Boy Scouts of America Inland Northwest Council contributed an additional $45,000 as a match.
Per the grant application, an average of 220 campers must cross the highway multiple times each day during the summer to access both sides of the 383-acre camp.
TAP grants can be used for a range of projects from on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities to safe routes to school education projects. This program is authorized to fund $850 million in improvements across the nation this year.
Repairs to the Atlas and Huetter bridges on Interstate 90 are halfway complete, and by this weekend crews will start working on the remaining halves of the structures, requiring a change in the construction zone.
Once the next phase of work starts, westbound lanes will be divided before the bridge over Atlas Road, with one lane remaining in place for access to the rest area near Huetter and the other lane crossing the median to join eastbound traffic over the bridges. 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.
Other work in the construction zone this week will apply striping and smooth the surface on I-90 from Northwest Boulevard to Ninth Street, requiring a single-lane closure at night. Crews will work on the eastbound lanes before finishing westbound lanes, with work anticipated to last four nights and planned to start tomorrow (May 1).
Bridge repairs 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.
Construction is expected to begin the last week of April on a portion of US-93 in Lincoln County. The project will involve the addition of northbound and southbound climbing lanes near Notch Butte, south of Shoshone. Work is expected to be complete this coming fall.
“The addition of climbing lanes will allow drivers to safely pass slower vehicles that may be traveling along the elevated stretch of roadway,” said south-central Idaho project coordinator Kenny Lively. “Overall, this project will help improve safety in the corridor for both commercial and passenger vehicles alike.”
Reduced speeds will be in place throughout the project. Drivers should be aware of crews and equipment present during working hours – Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Western Construction is the general contractor for this project.