The Idaho Transportation Department announced Thursday that a resurfacing project is scheduled to begin today, June 3, on a six-mile stretch of state Highway 75 south of Bellevue.
Traffic delays will likely be encountered today, as the contractor, Knife River of Boise, mills away the surface of a short section of the highway in preparation for an asphalt test strip, expected to be laid down on Monday, June 6. If work on the test strip goes as planned, the resurfacing project will begin in earnest on Wednesday, June 8, with crews working around-the-clock, seven days a week.
The project involves 5.9 miles of highway from near Gannett Road in Bellevue south to a point just north of Baseline Road. According to ITD, the project is expected to last through June.
ITD reported that Knife River is required by contract to keep two lanes of traffic open during busy morning and afternoon commute hours. Flaggers and a pilot car will help guide traffic through the area at other times.
ITD describes the work as a "mill-and-inlay" project, which will involve scraping about 2 inches off the roadway and installing a new surface. The work is being performed because of surface deterioration that would eventually lead to potholes.
As part of its contract, Knife River will also perform two smaller projects along the highway, one in south Bellevue and the other at Timmerman Junction, where Highway 75 meets U.S. Highway 20.
In Bellevue, between Gannett Road and the Bellevue Canal crossing, Knife River will build improvements to curbs, sidewalk and ramps.
At Timmerman Junction, the company will narrow the traffic lanes on Highway 75 and install "center-line rumble strips" as part of an ITD effort to improve safety at the intersection. Earlier this year, ITD reduced the speed limit on Highway 75 to 45 mph through the junction and installed new flashing lights to make drivers aware of intersection safety concerns.
ITD reported that the total cost of the Knife River contract is about $2 million.
The project was discussed Thursday morning at a meeting of the Blaine County Regional Transportation Committee, in which ITD officials also provided an update on a resurfacing project planned for later this summer on Highway 75 between Hailey and Ketchum.
ITD District Engineer Devin Rigby told the committee that bid opening for the Hailey-to-Ketchum work is set for Tuesday, June 7, and "shortly after that we'll have a much clearer schedule."
Rigby said the earliest that work could start is July 15. He said the contract will specify that highway work not be performed during peak travel periods for events such as Wagon Days, over Labor Day weekend in Ketchum.
The resurfacing project is being done because the 10-mile stretch of highway is deteriorating.
Highway 75 resurfacing is also planned in the Stanley area this summer, but a schedule has not yet been set. ITD reported that work will likely start before the Fourth of July weekend.
Terry Smith: firstname.lastname@example.org