New traffic pattern in place next week at Salt Lake Interchange project

Image of construction on the Salt Lake Interchange project

As early as Thursday (Oct. 15), traffic will shift on Interstate 84/86 at the Salt Lake Interchange project. Motorists traveling toward Pocatello from Burley on I-84 will be detoured toward Salt Lake. They will take Exit 228 at Yale Road and then enter I-84 westbound and continue on to I-86 toward Pocatello.

“This detour will allow us to complete demolition of the aged eastbound bridge structure.” ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock said. “This will be the final demolition phase for this project.”

In addition to the Yale Road detour, westbound traffic progressing from I-86 to I-84 will now continue through the work zone in their designated lane of travel.

“These are new traffic patterns which replace others previously in place throughout this project,” stated Hitchcock. “It’s important that drivers pay close attention to signage and message boards that will be in place to safely direct them through the area.”

Traffic will remain reduced to a single lane in each direction. Drivers should continue to anticipate reduced speeds through the work zone and watch for crews and heavy equipment.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

Westbound I-84 on-ramp closure expected next week at Exit 168 in Jerome County

Image of I-84 168 westbound on-ramp

Work is expected to begin next Monday (Sept. 21) on the Interstate 84 westbound on-ramp for Exit 168. This is part of the interstate rehabilitation project that has been underway since May of this year to provide a safer and smoother ride for motorists.

The Exit 168 westbound on-ramp will be closed while crews work on three drainage pipes in the area. Motorists will need to use Exit 165 to access westbound lanes on the interstate.

Message boards and traffic control will be in place to direct drivers. Work is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

“We are nearing the completion of storm water pipework for this project,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Brock Dillé. “After this is complete, we will begin paving the newly constructed westbound lanes.”

Rehabilitation of the westbound lanes is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Work on the eastbound lanes will begin in the spring of 2021.

The general contractor is Western Construction of Boise.

Crews successfully slide new I-84 bridge into place

demolition of the blacks creek bridge begins

Normally, bridges moving is not something an engineer wants to see, but this weekend construction crews slid the first of two new bridges at the Interstate 84 Blacks Creek Interchange sixty feet into place — where it will stay for decades to come.

The slide-in-place maneuver was designed to minimize impacts to the heavily traveled Interstate. Crews construct the bulk of the new bridge right next to the existing structure. When ready, the old bridge is demolished and the replacement structure is slid into place.

“The driving force behind choosing a lateral bridge slide method was our focus on the people we serve and their ability to get where they need to go.” said Patrick Kelly, the ITD project manager overseeing the work. “We were able to keep lanes open during the entire bridge construction process. Once it was ready, we closed the eastbound lanes, demolished the old structure, pushed the new bridge into place, and are wrapping up construction on the adjacent roadway. In the end, we will have closed interstate lanes of traffic for weeks rather than months.”

The whole process, from demolition to reopening traffic, will take two to three weeks. Normal bridge replacements can take several months. With the new bridge in place, crews have just a few final items to complete, including work at the bridge abutments and repaving approaches.

To get the bridge from temporary footings to its permanent home, crews lay down Teflon pads and cover them with dish soap. Then, heavy machinery pushes and pulls the structure into place. It’s a surprisingly effective way to reduce friction and easily move the massive structure.

“Seeing how smoothly the bridge slid into place was very satisfying.” said Kelly. “It has been months of planning, preparation, and a lot of hard work to get to this point. The crews from Knife River have done a wonderful job and should be very proud of the work they’ve done.”

This method has been used before in the Gem State when, in 2014, the Lardo Bridge on ID-55 in McCall was replaced. There, as it is at Blacks Creek, the highway is an essential connection and lengthy disruptions are very impactful.

The second bridge for the westbound lanes has been constructed next to the old structure. Crews are currently finishing up the eastbound side of the interchange, including work on ramps and Blacks Creek Road. They will be ready to slide the westbound bridge into place in early August using the same method.

For more information about the project, visit ITDprojects.org/i-84-blacks-creek-interchange/.

Evening traffic on I-84 in Jerome County to experience intermittent delays beginning next week for controlled median blasting

Image of median work on Interstate 84

On Monday (July 20) work in the median of Interstate 84 will require traffic to be intermittently delayed. This is part of the interstate rehabilitation project that has been underway since May of this year. Carefully controlled blasting is required to loosen the hard rock in the median.

“We completed crossovers earlier this month and are now moving into the next phase of the project which entails storm water and draining construction,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Brock Dillé. “This phase of the project requires us to blast portions of the median which will have a short term impact on traffic.”

For the safety of drivers, traffic must be stopped in the surrounding area while blasting is underway.

“There are four locations in the median that we need to address,” stated Dillé. “We expect these activities to take place on various days between July 20 to August 20. Blasting may produce delays for motorists up to 60 minutes although we anticipate the delays to be much shorter.”

In addition to traffic being stopped on I-84, the interstate on ramps at Exit 165 eastbound, 168 westbound and 173 westbound will also be closed while blasting occurs. A portion of the work will require closures on the north and south frontage roads (Bob Barton Road and East Frontage Road) as well.

After each blast, crews will ensure the roadway is safe and free of all debris before reopening the highway to traffic.

Dillé explains that timing of this work is very important. “We have to blast during daylight hours, but we are very conscious of the impact it will have on the traveling public, which is why we are undertaking this task in the evening when traffic on the interstate is past its peak hours.”

Blasting will not begin before 7:30 pm.

ITD is asking motorists to consider using alternate routes while this activity is underway. Electronic message boards and signage will be placed on the interstate several days in advance of each event. Motorists are advised to adhere to signs and pay attention to flaggers and pace cars that will be utilized to slow traffic on the interstate.

The general contractor is Western Construction of Boise.

Short term closures of rest areas to begin next week in South-central Idaho for seal coating

Image of Hagerman Rest Area on US-30

Weather permitting, the Idaho Transportation Department will begin seal coating the road surface of several regional rest areas next week to preserve the pavement and provide better traction for motorists.

“Over the next three weeks, we will seal coat four different rest area locations on our state routes,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Sam Purser. “This will improve the area for travelers who use these facilities.”

While work is underway, the rest areas will be temporarily closed. Electronic message boards and barricades will be in place to notify traveling motorists. A list of anticipated closure dates for each location is as follows:

  • July 21-22: Timmerman Rest Area (Junction of Idaho Highway 75 and US-20), south of Bellevue
  • July 28-30: Bliss Rest Areas (Interstate 84), west of Bliss
  • July 30-31: Hagerman Rest Area (US-30), south of Hagerman
  • August 3-5: Cotterel Rest Areas (Interstate 84), north of Sublett

“In addition to the rest area parking lots, we will also be seal coating the on and off ramps and various short portions of I-84,” stated Purser.

Seal coating is a surface treatment performed during the summer months to preserve and extend the life of Idaho’s roadways by applying a layer of oil and rock chips. It also provides a skid-resistant surface for better vehicle traction.

The process requires hot temperatures and dry weather for rocks to properly adhere to the oil.

Rock chips placed during seal coats have potential to cause windshield damage so drivers are cautioned to slow down when traveling to and from these facilities. Motorcyclists are also encouraged to exercise extreme caution when traveling through these areas.

Construction on I-84 in Jerome County to begin next week

Westbound Interstate 84 near Jerome, Idaho

Rehabilitation of the westbound lanes on Interstate 84 between Jerome and Twin Falls is expected to begin next Monday (May 11). Work will encompass approximately seven miles of highway (milepost 166 to 173) and provide a safer and smoother ride for motorists.

“Initial work will include construction of traffic crossovers and temporary ramps,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Brock Dillé. “Building a temporary ramp at Exit 173 will allow us to keep traffic moving without detouring motorists during construction.”

The first phase of the project is expected to last until July of this year. Once construction of crossovers and temporary ramps are complete, rehabilitation of the roadway will begin.

“This project was originally scheduled to begin in 2022,” said Dillé. “Due to efficiencies and cost-savings throughout the department, ITD was able to expedite this high priority route in order to provide a better highway for commercial and passenger vehicles two years earlier than anticipated.”

While construction is underway, traffic on this section of I-84 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction. Motorists should anticipate reduced speeds and watch for workers and heavy equipment throughout the work zone.

Rehabilitation of the westbound lanes is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Work on the eastbound lanes will begin in the spring of 2021.

The general contractor is Western Construction of Boise.

Substantial headway made on Salt Lake Interchange project east of Burley

Underway since May 2018, substantial progress has been made on the Interstate 84/86 Salt Lake City Interchange in Cassia County. With this project, the Idaho Transportation Department is replacing the old interchange with a new structure that will meet current standards and provide a better driving experience for motorists.

“This is a vital travel and commerce corridor for not only this area, but for the entire state,” said ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock. “Our goal is to construct an interchange that will serve motorists for many years to come.”

As work proceeds, drivers should anticipate a continuation of reduced speeds and changing traffic patterns through the work zone.

“There will be varying detours over the next several months as work on specific portions of the structure occurs,” stated ITD Project Inspector Jack Kelly. “It’s important that motorists not follow their GPS but instead pay close attention to signage which is in place to safely direct motorists through the area.”

Construction is scheduled to finish by late 2020.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

New detour planned this week for Salt Lake Interchange project east of Burley

Beginning tomorrow night (Oct. 29) at 10 p.m., a new detour will be in place for motorists heading east on Interstate 84/86 from Burley toward Pocatello. During this time, crews will install new structures to hold overhead signage.

Weather permitting, this temporary traffic pattern is expected to last until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, October 30.

“Unlike previous detours that have been occurring in this area, this portion of construction requires that we direct motorists completely off of the interstate,” said ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock. “Directing traffic to Idaho Highway 77 and Idaho Highway 81 will allow for safe installation of the structures without traffic traveling underneath.”

This is part of the Salt Lake Interchange replacement project, underway since May of last year. Construction is scheduled to finish by late 2020.

Drivers should still anticipate reduced speeds through the work zone and pay close attention to signage in place to safely direct motorists through the area.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

 

Repairs to occur next week on I-84 in Jerome County

The Idaho Transportation Department is expected to begin repairs next Wednesday (July 31) on Interstate 84 east of Jerome to improve roadway conditions for motorists. Work will occur between milepost 166 and 174 on both eastbound and westbound lanes. 

While crews are onsite, directional traffic will be reduced to one lane.

Repairs are anticipated to take place between 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Drivers should exercise caution and watch for crews on the following days:

– Wednesday & Thursday (July 31 – August 1)
– Monday & Tuesday (August 5 – August 6)

 

ITD lowers speed limit on I-84 in Caldwell to 65 MPH

I-84 speed limit reduction in Caldwell

Following a speed study of I-84 in the urbanized parts of the Treasure Valley, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is reducing the speed limit on the western side of Caldwell to 65 MPH.

The current speed limit on I-84 traveling west goes from 65 MPH to 80 MPH after the Notus/Parma Exit (Exit 26). Due to the high number of vehicles using Middleton Exit (Exit 25) both east- and westbound coupled with varying speeds of thru traffic and merging vehicles, the Department determined a speed reduction was warranted. The 65 MPH speed zone will now extend west of Exit 25. Crews will place new speed limit signs today.

“We observed significant variations in speeds, with entering traffic speeding up to merge with I-84 traffic, which was slowing for the speed limit change,” said ITD Traffic Technical Engineer Erika Bowen. “This resulted in a number of near misses between cars on the Interstate and those looking to enter. Given the high demand at the Middleton Exit, we believe the change will improve the driving conditions in this area.”

ITD routinely studies sections of the State Highways System to ensure the safety, mobility, and economic opportunity of the traveling public is best served. Staff looks at the pavement condition, crash history, geometry, signage, and observed driver behavior when considering changes to the highway.

Over the last five years, growth near the Middleton Exit has seen an increase of 5,000 vehicles per day added to this section of I-84. During the evening commute, congestion often occurs at Exit 25 causing backups on the westbound off-ramps. ITD is looking at solutions for this separate situation to improve the efficiency of the interchange.