By BRIAN WALKER
COEUR d'ALENE — Fasten your seat belts, Kootenai County.
You're in for a rough ride this summer.
Seven road construction projects — including on Interstate 90 and U.S. 95, totaling about $40 million — will occur within a 5-mile radius of where the area's two busiest highways meet.
"It's going to be an orange barrel derby — a lot of projects in a small area," said Reed Hollinshead, Idaho Transportation Department spokesman.
"Coeur d'Alene continues to grow and with that comes construction needs and roads that need repaired. More wear and tear on the roads is the price to pay when it's such a great place to live."
Hollinshead said whenever possible, work will be done at night and during weekends, but there will still be some daytime impacts such as lane closures or shifts, reduced speeds and delays.
"With safety in mind, we'll need the driving public to be patient and slow down," he said. "Choose an alternate route whenever possible. We realize that this is not great for drivers, but it will be great on the other end [after construction when the roads are improved]."
Some of the work was prompted by the tough winter, Hollinshead said.
"These projects will result in more efficient traffic flow, better visibility and improved safety," he said.
Traveler information is posted at 511.idaho.gov.
Here's a look at the Coeur d'Alene projects this summer as well as major projects later:
The $19.9 million, two-year Interstate 90 project from Northwest Boulevard to Sherman Avenue starts on Monday on the east end of the 4-mile stretch from Ninth Street to Sherman.
Reconstruction of the road will run through late fall.
The stretch from Ninth Street to Northwest Boulevard will be completed in 2018.
Both sides of the freeway will be reduced to one lane in each direction while the other lane is rebuilt. Speed will be reduced to 55 mph.
The freeway was constructed in 1960.
Since then, periodic inlays and overlays have been built, but no work on the roadway base has been done.
Also, the freeway under the bridges will be lowered 2 feet so some semis won't have to exit in Coeur d'Alene to avoid the rigs and trailers clipping the bottoms of the structures.
The project will start on the east end of Coeur d'Alene first due to the other projects occurring on the west side at the same time. However, a limited amount of work west of Northwest Boulevard will occur this summer.
A $4.5 million resurfacing project on the freeway from Sherman Avenue to the Blue Creek Bay Bridge east of Coeur d'Alene will run from July to September. Work will occur on one side of the interstate at a time. Traffic will be crossed over to the other side.
The project was driven by the harsh winter weather, Hollinshead said.
Sign upgrades totaling $1.2 million are also planned along the freeway in Kootenai and Shoshone counties from mid-summer until the fall.
An average of 38,880 vehicles, including 4,400 trucks, travel along I-90 in Coeur d'Alene each day during summer season, according to ITD.
Work has started on a $2.2 million project to resurface U.S. 95 south of Coeur d'Alene from Cougar Creek to Blackwell Slough. It is expected to be completed in about 60 days.
Lane closures are from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Speed is reduced to 45 mph.
A $1.8 million project on U.S. 95 in Coeur d'Alene from Emma Avenue to Ironwood Drive started last month and will be completed in about 60 days. The work includes intersection improvements, turn lane additions and signalization.
A $4.4 million reconstruction project of Seltice from Riverstone Drive to Huetter Road started last month. The first phase is expected to continue through mid-summer. Roundabouts will be built at Grand Mill Drive and Atlas Road.
The road from Hanley to Prairie avenues will be reconstructed and widened to include two lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, two buffered bike lanes and sidewalks.
Construction is expected to start in mid-June and run through September.
Signals will be reconstructed at Hanley, Canfield and Prairie.
Street lighting, water and sewer lines and stormwater improvements are also planned.
Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction.
A new signalized intersection at Medina Street and Ironwood south of Kootenai Health will be constructed from mid-summer to fall. It will also include turn lanes and sidewalk. Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction.
The north lane of Ironwood from Northwest Boulevard to Lincoln Way (U.S. 95) will be closed for an Avista gas line replacement in late summer.
On the horizon
U.S. 95 signalization, cross-street and turning modification improvements from Coeur d'Alene to the Highway 53 junction are planned for 2018.
An open house on the Highway 41 project from Post Falls to Rathdrum will be held on May 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Post Falls Police Department.
The highway will be widened to four lanes with a median, and a bike path is planned. The project will be completed in three phases.
The first phase, from Mullan Avenue to Prairie, was originally planned to start in 2019, while others were anticipated for 2021, but ITD hopes to merge all phases for construction in 2020.
"2019 would have been ambitious anyway," said ITD's Lee Bernardi.