Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Highway work remains suspended

ITD says work may resume today


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Motorists drive south on state Highway 75 Friday afternoon after pre-evacuation orders were issued for Ketchum and Sun Valley. Photo by Willy Cook

    Construction work on state Highway 75 south of Ketchum remained suspended on Tuesday because of the Beaver Creek Fire.
    Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Reed Hollinshead said Monday afternoon that work may be resumed today but is dependent upon fire conditions.
    Blaine County Sheriff Gene Ramsey said Tuesday that the contractor will be allowed, starting today, to conduct grading and water projects on the sides of the construction zone but that no construction trucks or flaggers would be present in order to allow a normal flow of traffic.
    Speed restrictions remain in effect throughout the construction zone.
    Ramsey said fire suppression will continue today on the west side of Highway 75. He asked that travelers keep moving and not stop to watch the work.
    Heavy smoke and heavy traffic led to the suspension of work on Friday when evacuations and movement of firefighting equipment became top priorities in Blaine County.
    The highway construction work started in May along a 3.25-mile section of highway between Timber Way, north of East Fork Road, and the bridge over the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center. When finished, the project will have widened the highway in the area to two lanes in each direction with center turn lanes and deceleration lanes at some major intersections.
    ITD predicted earlier this month that the project was already running about two weeks behind the original schedule. Whether the project is finished this fall is mainly dependent upon how long warm weather remains.
    If necessary, the ITD contract with Idaho Sand and Gravel Co., headquartered in Jerome, will allow the project to be finished in 2014.
    Ramsey also said Tuesday that Highway 75 is “doing pretty good” north of Ketchum, where he has had to monitor smoke and fire impacts. He said temporary closures—or possibly hard closures—are possible if conditions get worse in the area.
Terry Smith: tsmith@mtexpress.com




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