Despite delays caused by rain and saturated soils, the Idaho Transportation Department still anticipates that its construction project on state Highway 75 south of Ketchum will be finished by the end of September.
In a construction update issued Wednesday, ITD reported that paving on the northbound lanes in the construction zone, which was earlier expected to begin the week of July 28, is now expected to begin on Wednesday, Aug. 13. Once paving gets started, it is expected to last two weeks.
Construction contractor Idaho Sand & Gravel Co. experienced delays earlier this summer because of the unforeseen necessity of removing saturated soils from the road bed in the construction zone.
ITD reported in Wednesday’s construction update that the “contractor expects to be completed with all traffic-impacting activities by mid-September and total competition of the project by the end of September.”
The project involves widening a 3.25-mile section of Highway 75 from Timber Way just north of East Fork Road to the bridge over the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center. Once finished, the section of highway will have two lanes in each direction and center and deceleration lanes at major intersections.
Idaho Sand and Gravel finished the southbound lanes earlier this summer. Most of the preparation work has now been completed for the northbound lanes. Paving of a test strip of asphalt on a portion of the northbound lanes took place on Monday.
However, rain this week has been a problem. If weather allows, paving will start next Wednesday in the south area of the construction zone. A bottom layer will be applied first, followed by a top layer.
ITD advised that access to some intersecting roadways may be temporarily closed while paving is under way and immediately after while the material sets.
Stanton Crossing bridge
In other construction news, ITD Project Development Engineer Walter Burnside announced at a Thursday meeting of the Blaine County Regional Transportation Committee meeting that the agency intends in the future to replace the bridge on U.S. Highway 20 over the Big Wood River at Stanton Crossing in southern Blaine County.
The project is estimated at $4.6 million and construction is planned for 2018.
The existing bridge was built in 1956 and Burnside reported that it is “aging and structurally deficient.”
Burnside said key studies for the project are currently under way, involving wetlands, endangered species, recreation, hydrology and geotechnical issues.
Burnside reported that the project will have temporary impacts to the campground at Stanton Crossing but will ultimately provide long-term improvements for recreation in the area.