Work on Idaho Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry will shift to a fall closure schedule starting Wednesday, September 8, after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Travelers can expect ID-55 to be closed Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. due to controlled rock blasting. Outside of these hours, one lane of the highway will be open to alternating one-way traffic. This schedule is anticipated to continue through mid-November, when crews will pause work and fully reopen the road for the winter.
Drivers should keep in mind, the full road closures can create a buildup of traffic in the afternoon, which flaggers need to fully clear from each end of the work zone. This can extend wait times immediately when the road reopens at 2:00 p.m. Crews ask for drivers’ patience and to plan accordingly when traveling to and from Valley County.
The project, scheduled to be completed by fall 2022, will soon begin the process of building retaining wall on the riverside, pinning back rock, and straightening the roadway. Watch a video from the work zone below.
“We have managed to accomplish a great deal of work on this project so far,” said Alex Deduck, ITD Project Manager. “To date we have excavated about 100,000 cubic yards of material which allows us to expand the shoulders by four feet in the canyon. Ultimately, this project will make passage in the canyon safer for drivers.”
ID-55 is one of the most heavily traveled highways in the state of Idaho. In 2020 alone, ITD recorded approximately 1.5 million vehicles driving on ID-55 and predicts 2021 will see similar, if not higher, numbers.
“Our goal with any project we take on is to ensure drivers are safe,” said Vince Trimboli, ITD Chief Communication Officer. “If we can reduce the risk for travelers on our roads, especially on these curvy mountain roads, then we have done our job well.”
To read more about the project and sign up for updates and alerts, visit the project website: itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry