Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Highway 75 work nearly finished

Contractor striping new roadway this week

A specialized truck removes old striping Monday on state Highway 75 south of Ketchum. New striping on the roadway, which now has four lanes, is expected to be applied this week. Photo by Willy Cook

   Motorists got their first opportunity on Monday to drive on newly constructed northbound highway lanes in a construction zone on state Highway 75 south of Ketchum, indicating that work is nearly finished on the new roadway.
    Traffic in both directions was previously using only the southbound lanes. Traffic will be shifted back and forth between the northbound and southbound lanes while final work is being completed.
    The Idaho Transportation Department expects that traffic-impacting activities in the construction zone will be finished by the end of September. Crews from Idaho Sand & Gravel Co., contracted by ITD for the project, were putting finishing touches on the new roadway this week, including removing old striping so that new striping can be applied, likely by the end of the week.
    The project, now in its second year, involves widening a 3.25-mile section of highway from Timber Way, which is just north of East Fork Road, to the bridge over the Big Wood River near St. Luke’s Wood River hospital. Once the new roadway is completely opened to traffic, the highway will have two lanes for each direction and center-turning and deceleration lanes at major intersections.
    In addition to striping, construction crews are also finishing work on manholes, grading shoulders and installing utility access boxes, signage and survey monuments. Vegetation seeding on the roadway shoulders is planned for October.
    Striping will also include reconfiguring lanes on the river bridge near St. Luke’s. The bridge will be striped with two northbound lanes and one southbound lane. The lanes will be 12 feet wide each, leaving room for only 2-foot shoulders on either side.
    “At this time, there are no signs to be posted on the Big Wood River bridge prohibiting pedestrians or bicyclists from the highway,” ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke said Tuesday.
    Jerke said that once finished, the new section of highway will have a 55 mile-per-hour speed limit in the southern portion and will change to 45 mph just north of the intersection with Cold Springs Drive. A 35-mph speed limit will be put in place at the intersection of Hospital Drive and Broadway Drive and will extend into Ketchum.

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