Idaho 75 construction project awarded; work to begin this week

The first project to widen Idaho 75 through the Wood River Valley was scheduled to begin this week with reconstruction of 3.25 miles between Hailey and Ketchum. Extensive ground and rockwork was targeted to begin Wednesday and extend through this fall.

During the coming weeks, drivers can expect lane restrictions and delays along the highway between East Fork Road and the Big Wood River Bridge near Hospital Drive. Initial work will include temporary roadway widening, removing structures and guardrail, constructing retaining walls and installing a new traffic signal at Hospital Drive.

When completed, Idaho 75 will be widened to two lanes in each direction with some center turn lane and turn bays for access into residences and businesses. Other work includes intersection improvements, curb and gutter, stormwater drainage and retention, retaining walls and utility relocation. Utility companies have been on site for several weeks to complete relocation before road-building activities.

Idaho Sand and Gravel, of Jerome, is the contractor for the $9.44 million project. The contractor anticipates completing the project in October, although weather or unforeseen circumstances may push project completion into 2014.

“We’re excited to get this project kicked off,” said Justin Price, ITD resident engineer for the Shoshone region. “This is a project that has been in the works for a long time, and we expect construction to go smoothly. But there will be, as with any road construction, a large impact to drivers and their daily commute.”

One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained throughout the project, but drivers should expect traffic delays and flagging during some construction activity. Drivers are reminded to use caution throughout the entire highway work zone, and watch for construction traffic, crews and other drivers that may stop before turning off the highway.

The 27-mile Timmerman to Ketchum corridor study engaged the public about roadway improvement for much of the last decade and concluded with the Final Environmental Impact Study (FEIS) Record of Decision issued in 2008. The Timmerman-to-Ketchum corridor was split into seven project areas, with the design and construction of the Timber Way-to-Big Wood River stretch the first to be improved. The six other sections will follow as funds becomes available.

Published 5-3-13