local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs



Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of September 11 - 17, 2002


Highway projects cause traffic delays

Four projects to continue this week

Express Staff Writer

An Idaho Transportation Department official says four separate road-improvement projects currently under way in the northern Wood River Valley could continue to disrupt traffic along commuter routes in weeks to come.

Construction crews last week used a backhoe to dig up and remove a partially landscaped center island on Highway 75 just south of its intersection with Elkhorn Road. The extra space will be used to widen the four traffic lanes that pass through the area. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Tom Logan, ITD project manager for the state’s Alturas to Timber Way expansion of Highway 75, said a delay in opening several new lanes on the highway will likely continue until the end of the month.

ITD earlier this summer estimated that the project would be completed and open to motorists by Labor Day, Sept. 2.

Logan said road crews have yet to complete several parts of the project, including the installation of highway signs and new traffic signals along the approximately 2.3-mile stretch of highway.

In addition, crews from Idaho Sand & Gravel must bring in special machinery to smooth out the new road surface installed in late August, after which a final set of lane boundaries and signals will be painted on both the east and west sides of the highway, Logan said.

"We’re probably looking at another three to four weeks," he said Friday.

The new section of highway will essentially expand the highway to three lanes—two northbound and one southbound—from a point just north of Ohio Gulch Road to Greenhorn Gulch Road, after which it will be widened to five lanes through its intersection with East Fork Road.

Further north, along an approximately half-mile stretch of Highway 75 immediately south of its intersection with Elkhorn Road, crews from Bellevue-based Valley Paving started grinding up and removing the old road surface Sept. 3—in a process called milling—so it can be resurfaced.

The work last week caused significant delays for northbound commuters, many of whom were slowed to a crawl as they drove through the mid-section of the valley. During the morning commute, motorists generally needed a full hour to travel from Hailey to Ketchum or Sun Valley.

Road crews last week removed a continuous island that separated the two northbound and two southbound lanes through the area, and will eventually install four new, wider lanes, Logan said.

The new lanes will be 12-feet wide, while the old lanes were a "substandard" 10.5-feet wide, Logan said.

Logan said the center island—which was installed in 1994—was removed because it was considered an inconvenience by some motorists and caused damage to the highway sub-surface.

"We’ve had so many complaints from people over the years," he said. "It’s been a hazard and an eyesore, and also moisture got in around the planters and damaged the highway underneath."

Logan estimated the paving of the Elkhorn Road section would be done by next week.

In downtown Ketchum, Valley Paving crews on Saturday started removing the asphalt surface of Highway 75 from River Street to a point just past Fifth Avenue, in preparation for resurfacing the section of road over the course of the next week.

Logan said the paving work along the stretch should be completed by Wednesday, Sept. 18.

Merchants along Main Street have been warned to remove breakable items from their shelves during the paving project, as machinery used in the process can cause vibrations that might shake buildings and cause the items to fall.

Valley Paving crews have also been contracted by ITD to resurface approximately 3.5 miles of Sun Valley Road, from downtown Ketchum east to the U.S. Forest Service boundary just past Trail Creek Cabin.

Logan said most work on the project will take place after work in Ketchum is completed.

However, road crews this weekend started milling the western section of the project.

Logan noted that construction crews have planned to install a daytime detour on Saddle Road to downtown Ketchum around the western end of the Sun Valley Road project "during the first few days of paving."

Logan noted that the intersection of Sun Valley Road and Saddle Road will not be re-paved.



Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.