Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prep work under way for highway expansion

Construction expected to start in April

Express Staff Writer

Motorists may have noticed trees being removed along state Highway 75 in the vicinity of St. Luke’s Wood River hospital, south of Ketchum. The work is being done by an Idaho Transportation Department contractor to prepare the roadway for a highway expansion project coming this spring.

“We’ve been cutting down trees for a couple of weeks now, just preliminary work,” ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke said Tuesday. “Mostly right there near the hospital is where the trees have to come down.”

The prep work is part of a long-awaited Highway 75 expansion that will widen a 3.26-mile section to five lanes from Timber Way just north of East Fork Road to the bridge over the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s.

Jerke said right-of-way acquisition is nearly complete and that “it will all be done before we put the work out for bid.”

Advertising for bids is expected to occur in mid-February and a construction contract is expected to be issued by the end of March.

Jerke said actual road construction or other “traffic-impacting activities,” such as installing a new traffic signal at the highway intersection with Hospital Drive, is expected to start in April.

So how long will construction last?

“That’s the million-dollar question and depends on the weather,” Jerke said, adding that it will last at least through the summer and into the fall, but he acknowledged that it may not be done until 2014.

“We’re going to have to have near-perfect weather to have it done this year,” he said.

Terry Smith:


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