Friday, September 20, 2013

Detour delayed for highway work

ITD says winter traffic plan will keep two lanes open


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

     The Idaho Transportation Department announced Wednesday that a detour planned for pipe and manhole installation on state Highway 75 near St. Luke’s Wood River hospital will likely start on Monday and last throughout the week.

     The work was earlier planned to start on Sept. 9. ITD explained in a news release that rescheduling the detour was necessitated by “minor delays with utility relocation.”

     The detour will route southbound highway traffic onto Hospital Drive between its north and south access points from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Flaggers will be stationed at both points to maintain traffic flow. ITD stated that the detour will be lifted at 4 p.m. each day to accommodate southbound rush-hour traffic. Northbound traffic will not be affected by the detour.

     The detour is necessary while a construction crew installs pipes and manholes for a storm runoff system in the vicinity of the former Dean Tire location south of Ketchum.

     The work is part of a 3.25-mile highway widening project from Timber Way near East Fork Road to the bridge over the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s. When finished, the highway will have two lanes in both directions and will have center turning lanes and deceleration lanes at major intersections.

     ITD announced earlier this month that the project will not be finished this year and that work will be suspended from about November through February 2014.

     ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke reported in a “construction update” issued Wednesday afternoon that a “winter traffic plan” through the construction zone is being prepared but that the plan will depend upon the state of construction when cold weather halts activities. He said several different scenarios are being considered but that the final plan will require that the contractor, Idaho Sand and Gravel Co., of Jerome, “maintain two lanes of traffic at all times with adequate space for snow removal.” He further reported that access points onto the highway will be maintained and that traffic lanes will be aligned with the new traffic signal at Hospital Drive.

     Jerke also reported that construction crews will be working through weekends to complete as much work as possible before a winter shut-down.




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