Sagle Road project moves forward
Future site of a traffic signal at U.S. 95 and Sagle Road. Idaho Transportation Department officials announced that Sagle Road will close Monday for about a month as part of an effort to widen and realign the roadway.
(Photo courtesy IDAHO TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT)
Staff Writer | April 18, 2023 1:00 AM
SANDPOINT — Work on the Sagle Road intersection will take another step forward next week.
Idaho Transportation Department officials said the road will be closed Monday, April 24, as part of an effort to widen and realign the roadway. The road will be closed from the highway to Lignite Road for up to a month.
The closure will be in place for all traffic, Megan Jahns, Idaho Transportation Department public information officer, said. Drivers will not be able to turn east onto Sagle Road from the highway and drivers on Sagle Road will not be able to turn west onto U.S. 95.
During the closure, several different detour routes have been established. The first, for traffic on the southern portion of Sagle Road and Talache Road, will be detoured through Lignite Road. Local traffic only, including school buses, emergency vehicles and residents living in the area, will be allowed through via Monarch Road.
In addition to the work on Sagle Road, Jahns said work is continuing on a median U-turn also included in the highway safety project. The U-turn is being constructed to give drivers looking to travel north on U.S. 95 across the Long Bridge from Lakeshore Drive onto the highway another option.
After construction wraps up in June, drivers will be able to either make an immediate left turn onto the highway or turn right to join southbound traffic and perform a U-turn a half-mile away from the intersection to head north.
“Providing the U-turn option will reduce delays for drivers trying to get on the highway at Lakeshore Drive, as well as reduce the likelihood of near misses at this intersection,” Project Manager Phil Stout said previously.
As part of the project, crews also are working to finish a retaining wall, pave the widened portion of the highway and rebuild the Serenity Lee Trail.
While the work is ongoing, Jahns said one lane on the highway will remain open, but flaggers will intermittently stop traffic to allow trucks to enter and exit the work zone.
Flaggers also will likely be in place at U.S. 95 and Bottle Bay Road during peak hours such as during morning and evening commute times. However, Jahns said department officials will monitor traffic to see if additional times are needed.
Drivers also can expect the turn lane for Bottle Bay to remain reduced in length, while a detour for users of the pedestrian/bicycle bath will be marked along county roads.
Foundations for the traffic signal planned at U.S. 95 and Sagle Road have been constructed on the road's shoulder. The signal is expected to be installed — and activated — between late spring and early summer.
The work is part of a final phase of a project to improve safety on the highway from Lakeshore Drive to Sagle 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 completed in fall of 2021 and spring 2022. Dedicated lanes for different turning movements from Lakeshore Drive were also established.
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 bring 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."