For the week of July 8 thru July 14, 1998  

Five lanes pitched for Highway 75 stretch

Greenhorn bridge plans released

Express Staff Writer

Word on the street is out.

Plans to widen Greenhorn Bridge on State Highway 75--now a weak link in the chain connecting the north and south ends of Blaine County--came out of the Idaho Transportation Department last week.

Five lanes are planned for the under-two-mile stretch between Alturas Road and Timber Way that passes over the Big Wood River, ITD project development engineer Joe Schacher said.

The highway work is about midway between the cities of Ketchum and Hailey.

Four lanes are to run north-south, and a fifth will act as a turn lane for side streets like Greenhorn Road and East Fork Road.

To flatten the grade on the stretch, the highway will drop 10 feet at East Fork Road and raise two feet at the bridge. The stretch of road from the bridge south will be evenly graded to the end of the construction.

Materials removed from areas that will be lowered will be used to level areas that need to be raised, Schacher said.

"Most of the work will be a lot of excavation and moving dirt," Schacher said.

In the end, today’s 4 and 3 percent highway grades will slope only 2 percent, he said.

The bridge will have an aluminum box-type guardrail, which will be three-and-a-half-feet high.

Only one set of footings will support the bridge, instead of the two that do now.

"They will restrict the flow less on the river," Schacher said, adding the old supports will be completely removed.

The bike path will be temporarily detoured for construction.

The ITD is working with Golden Eagle Ranch owner Harry Rinker so his berms and ITD’s plans don’t tangle, Schacher said.

A traffic signal is planned for East Fork Road, as well.

The construction is planned to take 15 months, from fall of 1999 to fall of 2001.

During that time, two travel lanes can remain open at all times.

Construction will go in phases, starting with the eastern-most lanes and then moving to the existing two once those eastern roadway is completed.

Federal funds for state roads from the Surface Transportation Program will finance most of the $4.7 million project.

Blaine County must match over 7 percent of that amount with a nearly half-million dollar contribution, Schacher said.

A public meeting will be held at Wood River Middle School from 3 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 23. Those interested may officially enter comments at that time or through letters addressed to Susan Bale, Idaho Transportation Department P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID 83707-1129, by Aug. 27.


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