Later, craters

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LOREN BENOIT/Press An SUV drives past potholes in the westbound lanes of Interstate 90 Monday near the Fourth Street on-ramp. From Monday to Thursday night, 7 p.m. to 5 a.m, workers will mill and repave damaged sections along the interstate between Northwest Boulevard and the Sherman Avenue interchange; and between mileposts 15 and 20.

COEUR d'ALENE — A westbound 18-wheeler barreled down Interstate 90 Monday morning near the Mullan Trail overpass before coming upon a stretch of craters in its path.

The wide and inches-deep potholes forced the driver — operating an unwieldy vehicle at 65 mph, mind you — to make a swift lane change to avoid potential tire damage.

There are dozens more holes on the high-volume road through Coeur d'Alene.

But not for long.

Due to the combination of a wet fall and a frozen winter, asphalt maintenance patches have popped, prompting the Idaho Transportation Department to make emergency repairs this week.

From Monday to Thursday night —­ an operation that could be finished even sooner — workers will mill and repave damaged sections of the interstate between Northwest Boulveard and the Sherman Avenue interchange and between mileposts 15 and 20.

Work is scheduled to take place overnight from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. and drivers in the area can expect lane restrictions and reduced speeds in the work zone.

"Safety of the traveling public is our No. 1 concern at ITD," ITD spokesman Mike Lenz told The Press. "You can see the condition of the road, and that's the factor that pushed us into doing this emergency paving project."

Blown tires and dinged-up vehicles have been the extent of the pothole damages, and ITD wants to limit problems before an accident occurs.

"We're trying to take care of it before it gets to that point," said Lenz, who who noted this volume of potholes is a rarity.

ITD hired a private company to do the job, Old Castle Materials in Post Falls, which worked on the westbound stretch Monday before working on the eastbound stretch tonight.

I-90 is going to get completely rebuilt between mileposts 11 and 15 during the summers of 2017 and 2018, according to ITD.

"We're trying to make it safe until we can get into those projects," Lenz said.

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