BONNERS FERRY — The road construction on U.S. 95 through Bonners Ferry is in full swing this week, seeing a major change as the signal light at Alderson Lane is removed.
As reconstruction continues this summer, drivers can expect one lane in each direction to be open during the day. Some night work may reduce the highway to alternating, one-way traffic. Sidewalks will be closed for the season, and city street intersections will be temporarily closed while they are reconstructed.
Beginning April 1, properties from Alderson Lane to Labrosse Hill Street will be marked by surveyors and that work is expected to take two weeks, with stakes left on the properties.
“Please leave them in place to ensure a quick appraisal process,” Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) asked. “Anyone with staked property is expected to be contacted by project staff after the stakes have been placed.”
Given the number of parcels involved, ITD warns that the appraisal process could take some time. People with concerns are encouraged to call Carrie Ann Hewitt at 208-772-1230.
The project, which began in 2018, is scheduled to be completed in 2023. It will take place in two phases, with the first between Kootenai River Bridge and Alderson Lane underway, and Stage 2 between Alderson Lane and Labrosse Hill Street.
The completed project will result in a three-lane highway with a center turn lane and one lane in each direction; wider shoulders that can be used as bike lanes; sidewalks on both sides of the highway, with some sections separated by a grassy strip; new lighting for improved visibility; an updated drainage system; and other improvements.
The new merging point for drivers heading south on U.S. 95 has already been located near the Kootenai River Bridge, keeping it a safer distance from the planned crosswalk to the city pool, which will be made more noticeable to drivers.
The construction between Madison Street and Alderson Lane is planned to be completed in 2019.
“Local drivers will benefit from a wider highway with more pedestrian facilities and opportunities to wait to turn without holding up traffic,” said Megan Sausser, Idaho Transportation Department Public Information Specialist. “Sidewalks on both sides and an extended center turn lane will improve traffic flow and safety.”
Although there is some concern about commute times to many who drive that stretch of road on a regular basis, ITD is working hard to maintain a steady flow of traffic as best as they can during the project.
“Drivers can expect some congestion, but closures are only anticipated at side streets as they are being reconstructed and possibly single-lane closures at night. During the day, traffic should flow relatively normal as a lane will be open in each direction,” explained Sausser. “Where the highway is three lanes, that center turn lane will be closed.”
One way that ITD is minimizing the inconvenience is through up to date information. They have a website that not only shows the plans, but posts updated information as it is available. This allows commuters to check the website and make plans. Sausser also recommends 511.idaho.gov which includes an app that can be downloaded onto phones and tablets to help stay informed.
Drivers are not the only ones that are affected by the reconstruction project, and they are also not the only ones that may benefit from the finished project.
“During construction, most pedestrian facilities in the work area will be closed,” explained Sausser. “They can already enjoy a wider path along the South Hill, and after construction, they will be able to use new crosswalks, including one at Madison Street to the city pool, and sidewalks on both sides of the highway.”
Although it will require patience on the part of drivers and pedestrians, the completed project should provide smoother flow for all concerned.
For up to date information: www.itdprojects.org/us95bonnersferry