By KEITH ERICKSON
It’s full steam ahead for a $41 million project on U.S. Highway 95 north of Coeur d’Alene that will eventually ease traffic flow and improve safety for the 21,000 motorists who pass through the Garwood area every day on the north-south corridor.
The three-year project at State Highway 53 got underway last July and will include a new interchange, overpass and the elimination of two traffic signals.
“Drivers will see a big time savings,” Idaho Transportation Department public information specialist Megan Sausser said Tuesday. “We’re definitely in the thick of things right now with construction.”
Crews have worked hard to reduce inconveniences for motorists, Sausser said, but slight disruptions can be expected.
Most recently, the left turn onto northbound U.S. 95 off State Highway 53 has been eliminated. Motorists are directed north to the Chilco intersection to enter the highway.
“We do have detours in place and have installed temporary signals at 53 and Ramsey (Road) to handle the extra traffic caused by the detour,” Sausser said.
Traffic on U.S. 95 will not be affected for the majority of construction, but motorists on Highway 53 will be detoured around the bridge and interchange construction to Garwood Road via Old U.S. 95.
Sausser said the massive project was needed because safety and mobility concerns.
The new single point interchange will allow higher volumes of traffic to cross safely and more efficiently than the current design, she said.
The term single point refers to the fact that all traffic on State Highway 53 will be controlled by a single signal located in the center of the interchange bridge. Existing signals will be removed and northbound and southbound traffic on U.S. 95 will flow unrestricted under the interchange.
When construction is complete, the last remaining signal after leaving Hayden northbound toward Sandpoint will be at Lancaster Road.
Most of the project is being funded through Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds. The Idaho Legislature in 2017 authorized $300 million in bonds statewide for transportation projects that benefit safety and mobility. Another $13.9 million in federal aid is helping fund the project.
GARVEE bonds enable ITD to accelerate construction timelines, are paid back over 18 years and are backed solely by future federal aid.
For email updates: itdprojects.org/us95id53
For more information: 208-334-8000