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U.S. 95 project pauses for winter

| November 23, 2022 1:00 AM

SAGLE — Construction on a U.S. 95 project between Lakeshore Drive and Sagle Road is on hold for the winter.

Work on the project, including work on a median U-turn and an associated retaining wall north of Bottle Bay Road will continue in the spring. In the meantime, a temporary concrete barrier has been installed at the retaining wall site to project drivers from the steep drop-off, Megan Jahns, Idaho Transportation Department public information officer, said.

Jahns cautioned those driving northbound on U.S. 95 to expect the lane to narrow to 11 feet between the center lane and the guardrail.

"Signage will be up for the winter season indicating no roadway shoulder and a narrow northbound lane," she added. "The center and southbound lanes will not be affected. At this time, the speed limit will remain the same, but that could change this winter depending on driver behavior."

Foundations for the traffic signal planned at U.S. 95 and Sagle Road have been construction on the road's shoulder. Jahns said the signal will be installed — and activated — between late spring and early summer in 2023.

When construction on the intersection picks up in the spring, Sagle Road between the highway and Lignite Road in order for crews to realign and widen the roadway, Jahns said.

During the closure, several different detour routes will be established. The first, for traffic on the southern portion of Sagle Road and Talache Road will be detoured through Lignite Road. Local traffic, including school buses, emergency vehicles, and residents living in the area, will be allowed through via Monarch Road.

Changes to U.S. 95 between Lakeshore Drive at the south end of the Long Bridge and Sagle Road will increase safety for drivers on the highway and reduce delays for those turning onto it, ITD officials said.

Construction of the first phase, which included adding an acceleration lane for drivers turning south onto U.S. 95, was competed in fall 2021 and spring 2022. Dedicated lanes for different turning movements from Lakeshore Drive were also established.

"U-turns give drivers who want to turn left onto U.S. 95 an option to turn right first, travel downstream and then use a new lane to make a U-turn and rejoin traffic," ITD officials said on the department's website. "These U-turns are designed to increase safety and traffic flow in areas such as the south end of the Long Bridge."

While ITD does not plan to restrict left turns from Lakeshore Drive onto U.S. 95 at the Long Bridge, officials cautioned that could happen in the future. If that decision is made, drivers would still be able to head north from Lakeshore Drive by using the U-turn to the south.

While U.S. 95 improvements taking place in the Sagle area immediate safety and mobility concerns, ITD officials said a long-term study is planned to look at what the highway might look like in the future.

"This process could take several years," Jahns said on the website. "ITD will share opportunities for the public to participate as this project progresses."