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.

Overnight ramp closures scheduled at Franklin, Northside interchanges in Nampa next week

I-84 Northside Ramp Closure

The westbound on-ramps at the Franklin and Northside interchanges will be closed on several occasions next week while the Idaho Transportation Department rebuilds the interstate shoulders near the ramp.

The westbound I-84 on-ramp at Franklin Boulevard will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 5 and Tuesday, Nov. 6. Motorists can use the ramps at the Garrity and Northside interchanges during the overnight closures.

The westbound on-ramp closure at Northside Boulevard will occur from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8. Motorists will be directed to use the ramps at the Franklin and Karcher interchanges during the overnight closure.

ITD is widening the I-84 shoulders between the Karcher Road and Franklin Boulevard interchanges this fall in preparation for major construction next spring. Download the project fact sheet for details.

“By moving swiftly to prepare the shoulders this fall, we will be positioned to start the expansion work next year,” said ITD Program Manager Amy Schroeder. “This is the first step of the $330 million investment in I-84 in Canyon County over the next several years. The expansion is a statewide priority to improve safety, mobility and economic opportunity.”

To request email updates about construction activities, text 84CORRIDOR to 22828. For more information on the I-84 expansion project, visit itdprojects.org/i-84-karcher-to-franklin.

Rules of the Road: Temporary Signs

Temporary signs

Idaho Highways are some of the heaviest-populated areas of the state, making them great places to reach people with messages. But, improper placement of signs or banners can compromise the safety of the road and its users. Here are some things to remember when it comes to placing signs along the highway.

The #1 best practice is to place signs outside the right-of-way (ROW). ITD’s ROW is the land beneath and beside the pavement that is needed for the highway to function well and safely. For most of our roads, the ROW includes shoulders and low drainage areas. Posting signs in this area can negatively impact safety as they can block required sight distances, create distractions and hinder maintenance activities; such as mowing and litter pick-up.

This also applies to posting signs on fences along the highway or bridges over the highway. Generally, those fences mark the edge of ITD’s ROW and posting signs in these places poses similar concerns as stated above.

There are a couple of features you can look for to help guide proper placement of your signs. If there’s a fence running along the highway, you probably shouldn’t place signs anywhere between the fence and highway. If you don’t see a fence, but see power poles along the highway, those are generally placed just inside the ROW. So, you can use power poles as a general marker and not post signs between them and the highway.

Protecting these areas is codified in Idaho law. You can read more in §18-7029 and §40-1910, Idaho Code.

It probably goes without saying, but before placing signs on private property, be sure to ask the property owner if it’s okay.

ITD’s maintenance crews have limited resources to address illegally placed signs or posters. However, when ITD maintenance crews are working in the general area, they will remove signs that pose a visual obstruction, create a safety hazard or generate complaints.

The most popular time for temporary signs is before an election. Besides placing your signs in the proper location, the next best thing you can do is collect your signs after the polls close. We’d prefer not to send out our crews to collect signs, but if they remain posted we will grab them for you. We’ll hold them for 10 days after an election, so you can collect them.

Help us keep our highways safe and follow these simple guidelines when posting temporary signs. Questions? Call ITD at (208) 334-8000 and we can help with any specifics.

Interstate 84 expansion project in Nampa begins Sept. 26

The outside shoulders of I-84 will receive temporary widening to accommodate traffic during future construction.

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin reconstructing and widening the shoulders of I-84 between the Karcher and Franklin Boulevard interchanges on Wednesday, Sept. 26. This is the first step of widening I-84 through Nampa.

All traffic lanes will remain open between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. as crews will work primarily at night.  Speeds will be reduced to 55 mph during the day and night. Traffic will be down to one lane in each direction during construction times. The work will continue until mid-November.

The newly reconstructed shoulders will be used to keep two lanes of traffic flowing in each direction when I-84 is widened to three lanes between Karcher Road and Franklin Boulevard starting next spring.

In 2019 and 2020, ITD will replace the Karcher Overpass, redesign and reconstruct the Northside Interchange, and rebuild the bridges over the railroad and Mason Creek. Improvements are expected to improve safety, capacity and traffic flow in Canyon County for many years.

A separate environmental study is underway to identify needed improvements between the city of Caldwell and the Karcher Interchange.

For more information on the I-84 expansion project, please visit itdprojects.org/i-84-karcher-to-franklin or text 84CORRIDOR to 22828.