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/.

Intersection closures and girder placement on ID-55 in Marsing Oct. 1, 2019

crane places girders for bridge

Several intersections on Idaho 55 will be closed beginning Oct. 1. Construction crews are placing concrete gutters along the roadway. Access at each intersection’s will remain closed for 2-3 days (weather permitting) while the concrete hardens.

What to expect:

  • All work will be done during daytime hours.
  • Work is anticipated to take approximately two weeks to complete (weather permitting).
  • Work will be conducted between Bruneau Hwy. to Edwards St. on the north; Bruneau Hwy. to 9th St. on the south.
  • Side streets will be closed to all traffic while work is being done and while concrete hardens. Closures will be staggered.
  • Major intersections will be reduced down to one lane, but will remain open at all times. Steel plates will be placed over the gutter work while concrete hardens.

Flaggers will assist with the gutter operations at the major intersections.

The contractor will be placing the next set of girders tonight, Oct. 1. What to expect:

  • ID-55 and the Snake River Bridge will be closed for up to 30 minutes each time one of the girders are being placed.
  • Sunny Slope Road southbound will be reduced to one lane between Lowell and True roads. The lanes will be restricted from noon to 2:00 am each night to stage the bridge girders.
  • Work will generally be done between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am.
  • The work will be noisy.

I-84 in Nampa will be detoured overnight Sept. 16-19 for work on Karcher Overpass

Karcher Overpass under Construction

Interstate 84 will be closed overnight between the Karcher/Midland and Northside interchanges on Monday, Sept. 16 through Thursday, Sept. 19. The closures will allow crews to safely remove the wooden forms that temporarily supported the new bridge deck this summer.

  • Westbound I-84 will be closed for two nights – Sept. 16 and Sept. 17. Each night I-84 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Eastbound I-84 will be closed for two nights – Sept. 18 and Sept. 19. Each night I-84 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

During the four overnight closures, motorists will exit I-84 at Karcher/Midland or Northside and follow a detour along Karcher Road. Flaggers will direct traffic. View the detour map.

Lane restrictions and flaggers will also be in place on the Northside Boulevard between the ramps each night while crews begin to work on the new bridge.

The new Karcher Overpass is on schedule to re-open later this fall. Reconstruction of the Northside Interchange has begun and will continue through early 2021.

For more information about the reconstruction of I-84 in Canyon County, visit itdprojects.org/84Corridor. To receive construction updates; text 84corridor to 555888. “Drive Idaho,” ITD’s new podcast series on all things I-84 in Canyon County, is available for download on Spotify and Apple Podcast and other major podcast sharing sites.

New traffic pattern will take effect week of August 4 on westbound I-84 at Franklin Boulevard exit

Traffic on WB I-84 near the Franklin Blvd interchange

Ahead of constructing additional lanes on Interstate 84 in Canyon County, the Idaho Transportation Department is reconfiguring westbound lanes of the Interstate near the Franklin Blvd. interchange.

Currently, three westbound lanes are reduced to two lanes with the far left lane merging into the center lane. In the new configuration, the left lane will no longer merge, remaining a travel lane. The far right lane will end, used as the off-ramp to Franklin Blvd. A similar configuration is on westbound I-84 at the Garrity Blvd. interchange, where the Interstate is reduced from four to three lanes.

A graphic showing the new lane configuration of I-84 near Franklin Blvd.

“This reconfiguration maintains the existing capacity of I-84 during construction,” said ITD Project Manager Styles Salek. “With this change, we remind motorists to slow down, plan ahead and pay attention in construction zones.”

In order to promote the safety of motorists and construction crews, ITD has partnered with the Idaho State Police to provide enhanced patrols throughout the duration of the project.

This change will allow crews to begin adding lanes in the I-84 median between Karcher/Midland and Franklin Boulevard. The addition of lanes is part of the ongoing I-84 corridor project from Nampa to Caldwell. Improvements are expected to improve safety, address congestion and benefit the regional economy for many years.

For more information about the I-84, Karcher to Franklin project, listen to the Drive Idaho podcast, visit itdprojects.org/84corridor or text 555888 to request construction updates. You can also contact ITD at 84corridor@itd.idaho.gov and (208) 334-8002.

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.

Memorial Day Travel Advisory for Treasure Valley residents

Traffic Congestion Generic

Memorial Day weekend is nearly upon us, and ITD is issuing the follow travel advisory to inform those planning to drive from the Boise area of conditions on and along the area highways.

Construction Impacts

Interstate 84

There are two projects active on I-84 to the east and west of the Boise area.

Bridge rehabilitation on the bridge over Purple Sage Road west of Caldwell has reduced the Interstate to a single lane in each direction. Speed limits are reduced and motorists should anticipate delays.

Pavement rehabilitation and construction of a third westbound lane are active east of Mountain Home. Motorists will be channeled into a single lane and speed limits are reduced.

U.S. 95

There are two construction projects that will have active impacts over the weekend. Both are bridge replacements that currently have only one travel lane. The first project is located approx. 10 miles north of Council. The second is the Little Rainbow Bridge, approx. 13 miles north of New Meadows. Both construction zones are controlled by temporary signals. Motorists should anticipate delays on this route.

Idaho Highway 55

One active project on ID-55 is the repavement of the highway south of Smiths Ferry. Work will be suspended starting Friday, May 24 and not resume until Tuesday, May 28. Motorists should use caution in the area and obey traffic signs. There will be uneven surfaces as the project remains partially constructed.

Another project on ID-55 in Canyon County is the bridge and road reconstruction in Marsing. Construction impacts will remain active over the weekend. Travel will be reduced to one lane in each direction. Motorists should expect delays in the area.

Travel Conditions

Prolonged rainfall and cooler temperatures mean the mountains are saturated. This increases the risk of rockfall and mudslides. Motorists should be aware of the possibility of hazards on the road and drive with caution. Remember to remove distractions and Drive Well, focusing on the important task of engaged driving.

Congestion is common on these mountain highways during summer holidays. In particular, the intersection of ID-55 and Banks-Lowman Road sees heavy traffic. To mitigate this increase, ITD will flag this intersection on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

ITD is encouraging vehicles traveling from the Sun Valley region to the Boise area consider alternate routes or travel outside the busiest times (noon to early evening) to avoid delays at the intersection of ID-55 and Banks-Lowman Rd.

Be sure to check 511 before leaving to see the latest road conditions and impacts. You can call, visit the website, or download the app for Apple or Android devices.

Traffic reduced over Snake River Bridge in Marsing

A crane looms over a bridge

The Snake River Bridge will be reduced to one lane beginning Tuesday, April 9 in preparation for rebuilding the bridge.

What to expect at the Snake River Bridge:

  • Temporary traffic signals will be placed on both sides of the bridge to direct traffic.
  • Motorists should expect delays of up to 15 minutes.
  • The speed limit on the bridge will be reduced from 35 mph. to 25 mph.

The lane and the speed reductions on the Snake River Bridge will remain in effect until the bridge rebuild is complete. ITD will begin reconstructing the north side of ID-55 on April 9. Traffic will be switched to the south side of ID-55 in downtown Marsing while crews begin to reconstruct the north side of ID-55.

What to expect on ID-55:

  • Work will occur between 4th Avenue and Riverfront.
  • Work will occur during daytime hours.
  • Temporary traffic signals will direct traffic. Expect delays of up to 15 minutes.
  • Driveway access will remain open with brief delays.

Pedestrians are encouraged to use the south side of ID-55.

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.

Innovative virtual public meeting allows Idahoans to comment on upcoming ID-55 project online

Smiths Ferry Featured

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.

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.