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For the week of April 11 through April 17, 2001

Detour set at East Fork

Express Staff Writer

Golden Eagle Ranch II construction and Highway 75 expansion at Greenhorn Road, about five miles south of Ketchum, have created a flurry of earth work.

Some traffic delays are expected this summer while the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) widens the two-lane Greenhorn bridge to four lanes and widens other two-lane sections of the highway to three lanes.

A two-lane detour is planned this summer from Greenhorn Road to East Fork Road. Express photos by Travis Purser

The speed limit from Alturas Drive to Timber Way has been reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph, with the Blaine County Sheriffís Office promising stiff penalties for violations.

ITD project inspector Tom Logan said itís time to pave and stripe a two-lane "detour" along the west side of the highway from East Fork Road to Greenhorn Road.

While he anticipates two lanes of travel being open at all times during construction, Logan said drivers should expect short delays caused by flaggers stopping traffic to allow construction trucks onto the highway.

Work has been occurring Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., with intentional traffic disruption allowed only during the non-rush-hour period from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

By fall 2002, the ITD plans to have added two northbound lanes to the highway from Alturas Drive to East Fork. Plans include lowering the highway by six feet near East Fork Road and possibly constructing four turn lanes at the East Fork intersection. A traffic light may also be installed.

Excavators remove portions of berms along Greenhorn Road to comply with county-approved plans.

While the highway work takes place, workers building the Golden Eagle Ranch II subdivision are reducing the size of outsized berms. The county required developer Harry Rinker to bond $2.4 million to guarantee that the berms, built last summer at up to double the heights approved by the planning and zoning commission in 1998, would be reduced to their approved size.

On Monday, surveyor Josh Erickson used highly precise Global Positioning System equipment to stake out correct elevations within a three-inch degree of accuracy.

Meanwhile, excavation crews all but removed the berms along Greenhorn Road using a backhoe to work around gas, electricity, water, cable and fiber-optic lines buried in the berms.

Project construction manager Randy Purdy said the berm work should be completed in about a month.

When asked how he feels about having to redo the earthwork, he said, "Itís definitely not improving the project, but itís satisfying the neighbors."



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