Spring construction is wrapping up on Idaho Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Rainbow Bridge. Thursday, May 27th marks the last day of planned full road closures until September. Friday through Monday during the Memorial Day weekend, both lanes of the highway will be open. Then Tuesday, June 1st, our summer construction schedule begins.
This project will help improve safety and mobility for drivers by widening shoulders, minimizing roadway curves, and installing guardrail in certain locations.
“Our spring construction started in mid-March, and with full road closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. crews were able to safely blast rock away from the hillside,” said Project Engineer Alex Deduck. “In two and a half months crews excavated and removed nearly 55,000 cubic yards of material, that’s more than 4,500 truckloads. We’re close to a third of the way through the project now and appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we make this a safer drive.”
Crews will continue their work on the highway this summer. June 1 through Labor Day drivers should plan for one-lane alternating traffic day and night Monday through early Friday morning. Both lanes will be open on weekends Friday through Sunday to accommodate busy summer travel.
Watch the video below to see the progress made so far.
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Thank you for your patience as we improve the safety and mobility of ID-55.
Spring construction picks back up on Idaho Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and the Rainbow Bridge Monday, March 15. The Idaho Transportation Department’s project will widen shoulders, add guardrail, and straighten this curvy one-mile stretch of highway to improve safety. Watch the video below to see the project.
Earlier this month, crews removed snow and set up construction equipment in the canyon. Starting March 15, travelers should plan for full road closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., due to controlled rock blasting needed to widen the road. When ID-55 is not closed, there will be one-way alternating traffic with 15-minute delays. This work schedule is expected through May, when crews will transition into summer operations.
To stay up to date and learn more, visit the project website itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry.
To maximize the public’s ability to provide input on upcoming construction, the Idaho Transportation Department is launching a virtual public meeting on proposed improvements for Idaho Highway 55 from Smiths Ferry to Round Valley.
You can view the project information and participate in the virtual public meeting by clicking here or visiting https://bit.ly/2BCNCzx.The Department will receive public comments until March 3. The online meeting tool allows visitors to interactively learn about the project and provide direct feedback to ITD.
The improvements will address existing safety concerns on the corridor by widening the road, adding ditches to catch rockfall and constructing shoulders and guardrail where appropriate. Additional work will improve wildlife habitat and passage under the roadway. The result will be a safer corridor with higher speed limits to improve mobility.
“This project will affect a diverse group of people from far and wide, including nearby residents and recreationists from around the region,” said ITD engineering manager Jason Brinkman. “This virtual public meeting allows us to effectively reach those groups and get their input to help us make well-informed decisions.”
Construction could begin as soon as the Fall of 2019. The work will require significant blasting and excavating of the hillsides adjacent to ID-55. To complete this work, regular closures of several hours will be enforced. ITD will conduct extensive public outreach to inform users of the highway about these impacts and work with them to mitigate the impacts of construction.