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US-95: McArthur Lake

Adjusting sharp curves will improve safety.

In 2023 and 2024, one mile will be reconstructed near the lake to make turns easier for drivers and to elevate the highway where it dips down to the water. Elevating US-95 will also allow wildlife to pass underneath to access the refuge.

Construction

Safety improvements will take two years to complete. Crews are still building a temporary road around the work zone to allow traffic to flow smoothly during construction and are expected to shift highway traffic onto it in early September. Once traffic is shifted, crews will begin work on the new bridge.

The work zone includes an area associated with peoples of the past. ITD is working with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and other partners to ensure that any cultural resources found and recovered during construction are protected. The department has brought in a team of experts to monitor activities and investigate the site. The significance of any findings is not yet fully known, but once known ITD and the tribe plan to share more information. At this time ITD and the tribe ask that those not involved with the project respect the closed area for the safety of workers.

Some construction will continue over the winter, and the project will be complete in late 2024.

Archeological data recovery

In the summer of 2021, experts completed archeological data recovery excavations near the WMA to recover cultural materials associated with peoples of the past. This work is a result of a federal process designed to identify and consult with interested parties regarding project that could affect historic properties.

ITD takes pride in being an environmental steward and works to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts to these resources that are important to all Idahoans; for this project, ITD has partnered with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho to mitigate impacts to historic properties on traditional homelands.

New design

The south end of the new bridge will be shifted to the east approximately 50 feet, but the north end will not move. During construction, traffic is planned to run on temporary lanes to the west.

ITD has worked with Idaho Fish and Game and the Kootenai Tribe to develop plans and have included wildlife fencing to encourage animals to pass underneath the new structure once built.

The current design does not include plans to improve the Shiloh Loop and McArthur Lake Road, unlike earlier plans, to reduce construction costs.

June 2019 open house displays

Project history

Safety improvements to US-95 near McArthur Lake were originally identified for design in the early 2000s due to crashes associated with wildlife and icy conditions. The project was removed from the program due to high costs, allowing ITD to address other needs in the area.

Although construction funding was never identified, ITD worked with partners to implement other available options while addressing different safety needs. ITD worked with Idaho Fish and Game to remove brush, improving drivers’ ability to see wildlife near the road. A new turn lane was also striped for those turning left onto McArthur Lake Road.

Funding for safety improvements is limited, meaning ITD must rank projects to put it to the best use. Crashes indicate areas in need of changes. Following a fatal crash in 2016, funding for this area was identified and design began again.

October 2006
Initial concept report estimates project cost at more than $20 million, project removed from the program
2008
ITD begins using brine, improving conditions and reducing crashes
December 2010
Value engineering report delves deeper, and ITD pursues other improvements instead
2012
Left turn designated for McArthur Lake Road
2014-2015
Brush and tree cover reduced near the highway to limit shade and icy conditions during winter months and decrease animal strikes
April 2016
Crashes increase project priority
June 2019
Open house
Summer 2021
Archeological excavation
2023 - 2024
Construction
May 2023

Construction begins

Safety improvements will take two years to complete. For the first month, flaggers will intermittently stop traffic on US-95 as crews remove the part of the existing highway. The contractor will also begin building a temporary two-lane road around the work zone to allow traffic to flow smoothly until construction is finished in the fall of 2024.

More info
June - August 2021

Archeological data recovery

Work from June to August in 2021 searched for cultural materials associated with peoples of the past who used this area as part of their seasonal rounds.

July 2019

Responses to comments published

An FAQ was published to answer common concerns from the open house.

FAQs
Spring 2019

Bridge length extended

The existing box culvert will be replaced with a longer bridge. The new structure will be 300 feet to span over soils not ideal for supporting a bridge and will also allow any wildlife to pass underneath the highway.

Project
Updates

ITD is working with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and other partners to ensure that any cultural resources found and recovered during construction are protected. The department has brought in a team of experts to monitor activities and investigate the site. The significance of any findings is not yet fully known, but once known ITD and the tribe plan to share more information.

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