SMITHS FERRY, Idaho — The Idaho Transportation Department will begin work to straighten curves and widen the shoulders along a section of Idaho 55 on Tuesday, a project that will result in a series of total closures of the highway.
The safety-enhancement project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley is set to begin Sept. 8.
Idaho 55 will be fully blocked in that area every Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this fall as crews work on blasting and rock removal.
ITD says the project will be worked on mainly in the fall, spring and summer months, with construction pausing for the winter. In addition to straightening curves and working on the shoulders, ITD will install guardrails along the highway.
"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."
In addition to the Monday through Thursday four-hour full closure, drivers should expect reduced speed limits and changing traffic patterns. From September through November, the highway will have one-way alternating lanes with a temporary traffic signal during both the daylight hours and at night.
That closure pattern will continue when construction picks back up in mid-March through mid-May. Once summer hits, crews will switch to Monday through Friday work, keeping the alternating traffic flows with flaggers but no longer conducting total closures midday Monday - Thursday.
The project is expected to be finished by late Fall 2022.
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