SANDPOINT — Schweitzer Mountain Road is getting an extensive makeover this summer.
Independent Highway District officials said in a statement this week that they are “proud to announce the repair and resurfacing of approximately six miles of the iconic resort road.” The work is slated to start on Monday.
“We commend the IHD for their ongoing efforts to improve this route that is so critical to our livelihood,” Tom Chasse, CEO of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, said in the statement. “They offer the best maintained road in the county during the winter months and these improvements are only going to help enhance our guests’ experience year-round.”
IHD chairman Mel Bailey and staff worked closely with Ryan Luttmann, project manager with Century West Engineering, for the past year to secure funding for the improvements. Funding for the project comes from multiple sources, including $1 million of emergency relief funds through the Idaho Office of Emergency Management for damages that were sustained in the spring of 2017. In addition, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council awarded another $1 million through the Local Strategic Initiatives program, allowing additional maintenance improvements to be performed on the roadway.
“Starting at the first switchback, and ending at milepost 7.1, the project encompasses what we’ve hoped to achieve both for the community at large and the resort,” Luttmann said. “Approximately 3,000 linear feet of roadway below switchback three will include underdrains and the addition of a foot of structural material, greatly improving the integrity of the road in this section. The remaining sections will benefit from a pulverization of the road surface itself, prior to paving, or will receive a structural overlay of the existing road surface with a new asphalt mat.”
“Basically, it amounts to a new finished surface on much of the road, which will also greatly improve the riding surface for cyclists and make it more efficient to remove snow and ice in the winter months,” Bailey added.
Project construction was awarded to Woods Crushing & Hauling, Inc., of Sandpoint, with construction activities being performed on weekdays. One lane of traffic will remain open through the construction zone, and traffic delays should not exceed 15 minutes in each direction. Both lanes will be open for use on the weekends.
Pavement striping and shouldering material will be placed prior to August 30 of this year, just in time for the resort to celebrate the 27th annual Fall Fest.
“It’s quite an achievement,” Luttmann said. “Schweitzer has long been an important facet of life here in Sandpoint and this funding will allow the district to bring the road up to a maintainable standard and improve the year-round access to a wonderful community asset.”