Friday, August 19, 2011

Highway work starts north of Ketchum

Resurfacing south of Stanley to last through August

Express Staff Writer

Nathan Jerke

Road resurfacing got under way Wednesday on a 28-mile stretch of state Highway 75 between Frenchman Creek and Stanley.

"They want to be done before Labor Day—barring breakdowns they should accomplish that," Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Nathan Jerke said Thursday.

The work is being done by Knife River Corporation of Boise, the same company that chopped up and resurfaced a 5.5-stretch of Highway 75 south of Bellevue and is contracted to repair 10 miles of the highway between Ketchum and Hailey.

A one-month delay because of portable batch plant problems on the work south of Bellevue raised concerns in Blaine County that Knife River might not be able to accomplish the Hailey to Ketchum work before cold weather sets in this fall. However, Jerke said ITD still expects Knife River to meet the schedule.

"We're feeling at this point that everything's going to go off this fall," Jerke said.

The work south of Bellevue is now mainly finished. According to an ITD press release, Knife River has yet to complete road painting and installation of rumble strips at Timmerman Junction. Although farther south than the resurfacing work, the Timmerman Junction work was added to the Knife River contract to help improve safety at the controversial intersection of Highway 75 and U.S. Highway 20.

ITD expects that the Frenchman Creek to Stanley will go more quickly than the other two projects because it mainly involves putting a new surface on the highway. The highway will only be milled in a few areas to even out the roadway and eliminate potholes. Knife River will be working seven days a week until the job is finished.

ITD announced in the press release that some work between Hailey and Ketchum could start as early as late next week. Much of the roadway will be chopped up and removed, but in some areas where there is less deterioration, only a new surface will be installed.

"By the end of next week, we'll have a better idea of what the schedule will look like," Jerke said.

Terry Smith:

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