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ID-55, Smiths Ferry Improvements

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is making safety improvements to ID-55 between Smiths Ferry and Rainbow Bridge. The project will widen shoulders, minimize roadway curves and install guardrail sections in certain locations. Construction began in early September 2020 and includes one-way alternating traffic 24/7 as well as full road closures Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The project is anticipated to last through late fall 2022.

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What to Expect

Fall (Sept. – late-Nov.)  
– Construction starts Sept. 8
– One-way alternating traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
– Full road closures beginning Mon., Sept. 21

Winter (mid-Nov. – mid-March)
– No construction is expected over the winter months
– All lanes open

Spring (mid-March – mid-May)
– One-way alternating traffic 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
– Up to 15-minute delays
– Full road closures Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Summer (June – Aug.)
– One-way alternating traffic, controlled by flaggers
– Up to 15-minute delays
– Daytime and nighttime work, Monday – Friday morning

 

 

Public Meeting

View the recorded online public meeting hosted by ITD below.  The planned safety improvements to ID-55 at Smiths Ferry were presented, followed by a Q&A with ITD and contractor representatives.
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September 8, 2020
Construction Starts, one-way alternating traffic controlled by temporary signal
Asset 5
September 21, 2020
Full road closures begin, Mon. - Thurs., 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Asset 5
Late-November 2020
Construction suspended for the winter season, all lanes are open
Asset 5
Mid-March 2021
Construction Starts, one-way alternating traffic controlled by temporary signal, full road closures Mon, - Thurs., 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
Asset 5
Asset 5
FAQ
What is the designated detour to avoid construction?
What is the designated detour to avoid construction?

Drivers are encouraged to use U.S. 95 during construction to avoid full road closures and travel delays.

General
Why can't ID-55 have two travel lanes to accommodate weekend traffic in the fall and spring?
Why can't ID-55 have two travel lanes to accommodate weekend traffic in the fall and spring?

The contractor has brought in large steel containers and one-way barriers to prevent falling rock from entering the travel lane, and protect the crews working next to live traffic. It is not feasible to remove this set-up each weekend. Also, the contractor will be working as much as possible in the spring and fall to complete the work by late 2022. This approach better accommodates heavy weekend travel in the summer.

Why is this project needed?
Why is this project needed?

This segment of ID-55 sees a crash rate that is higher than normal. Many of the crashes involve speed or loss of control with no opportunity to correct because of the narrow, winding road.

How long will it take to complete these improvements?
How long will it take to complete these improvements?

The project is expected to be complete in late 2022. Crews will remove more than 140,000 tons of rock from the hillside to make room for the new roadway improvements and alignment. They will blast and excavate the existing rock carefully and safely over the course of the project.

What if emergency vehicles need to get through the work zone or road closure?
What if emergency vehicles need to get through the work zone or road closure?

The project team is coordinating closely with local emergency service providers and first responders to ensure safe passage through the work zone as needed. Dispatch has direct contact to onsite staff to coordinate access.

Can Smiths Ferry Drive be used to bypass the project?
Can Smiths Ferry Drive be used to bypass the project?

Smiths Ferry Drive will be closed to through traffic but will remain accessible to local residents and property owners.

What is the speed limit in the work zone?
What is the speed limit in the work zone?

25 mph.

Will the Payette River remain open to recreation users during construction?
Will the Payette River remain open to recreation users during construction?

The river will remain open during the summer. As a safety precaution, it will close for short durations during rock blasting operations in the fall and spring. Spotters will be located in the river to notify users of the closures.

Where can I find the most up-to-date information?
Where can I find the most up-to-date information?

Sign up for email updates and text notifications. Text notifications will be used to communicate full road closures and abnormal delays on ID-55. Email updates will be distributed regularly to provide information about the project. Drivers can also download the 511 app or visit 511.idaho.gov for travel information.

General
Is ITD constructing a bypass from Smiths Ferry to Round Valley?
Is ITD constructing a bypass from Smiths Ferry to Round Valley?

No. ITD has evaluated several alternatives over the past 20 years in order to improve safety and mobility on this stretch of ID-55, including this current project and a bypass. This project is more cost-effective and has fewer environmental impacts than the bypass.

General
Will the project improve or replace Rainbow Bridge?
Will the project improve or replace Rainbow Bridge?

No. The current project will not make any changes to Rainbow Bridge. ITD is working on a long-term plan to replace Rainbow Bridge that will increase mobility while preserving the historical bridge.

General
Is there a width and/or length limit in effect for commercial vehicles?
Is there a width and/or length limit in effect for commercial vehicles?

Loads are restricted to 13 feet wide, 75 feet long, and trailers are restricted to 48 feet long and must adhere to the 25-mph work zone speed limit. Any vehicles or loads above these restrictions are not allowed on ID-55 or through the work zone. 

General
Will my trailer fit through the work zone?
Will my trailer fit through the work zone?

The Idaho Transportation Department does not allow trailers longer than 48 feet or trucks with trailers longer than 75 feet to travel on ID-55 without a permit. Vehicles and loads are restricted to 13 feet wide, 75 feet long, and must adhere to the 25-mph work zone speed limit. To get a permit, visit trucking.idaho.gov/permits/.

General
Will the work zone affect my current oversize load permit for ID-55?
Will the work zone affect my current oversize load permit for ID-55?

The work zone follows the same restrictions in place for traveling on ID-55. For more information on permits, visit trucking.idaho.gov/permits/.

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