ID-55 project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley to start September 8

ID-55 at Smiths Ferry

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) starts road work on the Idaho Highway 55 safety-enhancement project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley on September 8.

The public is invited to attend a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, September 2, from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. where ITD representatives will give an overview of the project and take questions. The link to attend will be posted on the project website, itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry, 15 minutes prior to the meeting.

Work will largely be done in fall, spring and summer months, with construction stopping during the winter. This fall, travelers can expect full closures on the roadway Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to allow for blasting and rock removal.

Motorists can find additional details on road closures and traffic patterns on the project website, and can sign up for email and text updates.

“Our goal with this project is to enhance the safety of this mile-long section of the roadway,” Project Manager Alex Deduck said. “Construction crews will remove about 146,000 tons of rock from the hillside, which we want to do very carefully to not create rockslides or impact the river.”

Crews will work on widening shoulders and straightening the curves of the road. This project will also provide a smoother, safer ride for motorists by adding guardrail.

Motorists should anticipate reduced speeds and lanes reduced to one-way alternating traffic during construction. Seasonal closures and traffic patterns will be as follows:

  • Fall (September – November): One-way alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Winter (December – Mid-March): No construction expected; all lanes open
  • Spring (Mid-March – Mid-May): One-way alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Summer (Mid-May – August): One-way alternating traffic controlled by flaggers; daytime and nighttime work, Monday – Friday

The project is expected to be completed by late fall 2022. ITD and the Idaho State Police advise motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-­1-­1 or visit 511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.

Flooding in Central Mountains creates hazards, motorists urged to use caution

Flooding on ID-55 near New Meadows

Flooding from spring runoff is causing water to run or pool on top of U.S Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 55 throughout the Central Mountains. The Idaho Transportation Department is urging motorists approaching these hazards to use caution.

Flooding on ID-55 south of Cascade
Flooding on ID-55 south of Cascade

Heavy rain and melting snow is causing isolated hazards in the Weiser, Payette, and Salmon Drainages. This includes the cities of Weiser, Council, New Meadows, McCall and Cascade. Hazards created by flooding may be pooling, erosion, mudslides, rockfall, and water running over the top of roadways. ITD crews are out in force mitigating these hazards with warning signs and, where possible, cleaning up debris. The Department reminds motorists who come upon these hazards to exercise caution.

“In most areas, the water is only a couple inches deep,” said ITD Foreman in Council, Robin Freeman. “But hitting that water at 55 MPH can mess up your vehicle. I’ve had one car already hit a puddle at high speed. It killed the engine and the car is stuck in the middle of the road.”

ITD is asking motorists to drive well and stay engaged. Be on the look out for warning signs or flaggers and obey directions to safely navigate these hazards. For roadway conditions and hazard warnings, check 511 and know before you go.

Construction of ID-55 improvements in Marsing begins; open house Jan. 24

ID-55 Marsing Improvements

Construction of improvements to Idaho Highway 55 through downtown Marsing has begun. The project will rebuild the Snake River Bridge and repave the highway from the river to the U.S. 95 Junction. When complete, the project will enhance local business opportunities and improve safety and mobility through the area.

Initial work on irrigation lines began Monday, January 14. Major work includes replacing the School Drain pipe and C-Line Canal pipe. Traffic will be reduced to one lane and a temporary signal will direct alternating traffic. Work will be limited to daytime hours, though the lane closure and signal will operate 24/7 for the next 3-4 weeks.

ITD invites the public to an open house to review the final construction plans for this project. The open house will be held Thursday, Jan. 24 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Marsing (126 2nd Ave. W). Attendees will have an opportunity to view construction plans for the new Snake River Bridge and ID-55 improvements, ask questions  of project staff, and learn how to stay informed during construction.

“We are encouraging motorists to plan extra time when driving through the areas during construction,” said David Barrett, ITD Project Manager. “We are improving a major route used to haul agricultural products and move people to and through a beautiful part of Southeast Idaho.”

Work to rebuild the bridge will begin in earnest this spring. During construction, one lane of the bridge will be open to traffic with a 14-foot width restriction. The new bridge is expected to be complete by the summer of 2020.

The contractor for this $20.9 million project is Wadsworth Brothers Construction out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

For more project information and to sign up for updates, visit ITDprojects.org/Marsing55improvements or text Marsing55 to 22828.

New signal feature installed at Eagle and Ustick

No Right LED Sign

There’s a new feature on two signals along Eagle Road in Boise that’s sure to grab your attention: LED signs that light up to display a “no right turn” message.

Yield to U sign
A static sign reads “Yield to U-Turns”

Two signs have been placed on the intersection of Ustick and Eagle. It can be seen by the cars traveling the east-west Ustick corridor. The signs light up when cars on Eagle have a green left arrow light. The purpose is to prevent collisions between traffic making legal U-turns on Eagle and cars turning right off of Ustick.

While no crashes have been reported in this area, a number of near misses have been observed.

“This should eliminate those,” said ITD traffic engineer Erika Bowen. “We’re looking at doing a pilot for it. If this is successful, ITD plans on installing them up and down the Eagle Rd. corridor.”

Currently, many intersections on the corridor feature a sign advising those turning right to “Yield to U-Turns.” The new signs actively turn on and off only when necessary. The hope is the change will grab a driver’s attention and induce safer behavior.

The pilot program is a partnership between ITD and the Ada County Highway District.

Intersection improvements ramp up on Idaho 55 in Canyon County; motorist urged to plan ahead and consider alternate route

The Idaho Transportation Department is advising motorists to prepare for construction-related delays at the Lake Avenue and Midway Road intersections on Idaho 55 over the next several weeks. Crews will install mobile signals at both intersections the week of Oct. 23 and prepare to close areas for widening.

What’s Next:

ITD is repaving Idaho 55 between Pride Lane in Caldwell and Middleton Road in Nampa and improving the intersections at Farmway Road, Lake Avenue and Midway Road. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed in late 2017.

While the mobile signals are in place, left-turning traffic at both intersections will use the through lane. The temporary configuration will give crews more room to widen the intersections.
To give crews room to excavate and pave new turn lanes, ITD will schedule multiple road closures at the two intersections this fall. Each intersection includes two work areas – one north and one south of Idaho 55. Closures will rotate, leaving only one area closed at any time. The four work areas include:
• North Midway Road from Homedale Road to Karcher Road.
• South Midway Road from Orchard Avenue to Karcher Road.
• North Lake Avenue from Homedale Road to Karcher Road.
• South Lake Avenue from Karcher Road to Orchard Avenue.

Each closure will remain in place 24/7 for approximately three days. Residents will have access to their homes during the closures. All other local traffic will be detoured. Click here for a map of the detour routes.

“We are urging motorists to plan ahead, slow down and find an alternate route if possible over the next few weeks,” said ITD Construction Coordinator Merrill Sharp. To sign up for email construction updates, text IDAHO55 to 22828, email jennifer.gonzalez@itd.idaho.gov or call (208) 334-8938. More information is available at itd.idaho.gov/d3.