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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This Could Seriously Slow Down Your Commute- Update

Here's your heads up that a construction project on I-90 starting next Monday could slow down your commute. The Idaho Transportation Department will be removing concrete, repairing damaged areas, and overlaying the decks of several bridges, both east- and westbound, from the Washington State Line to Spokane Street in Post Falls.

I-90 will be reduced to one lane in each direction on a 24-hour basis, until about mid-June.

The contractor will use the following work schedule:

- April 26-May 3: The contractor will work 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., including weekends. One lane in each direction will be closed overnight, and re-opened during the day.

- Beginning May 4, one lane in each direction will be closed on a 24-hour basis, for approximately 30 days.

- Once the bridge work is complete, night lane closures will continue for approximately 20 days to allow the contractor to pave and stripe the road surface in each direction.

The speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph. Motorists are encouraged to use alternate routes as long delays (more than 15 minutes) and congestion are expected during construction.

Due to the comments I've been hearing regarding this project, I contacted ITD to see what the reasoning is behind the way it's scheduled. Barbara Babic, ITD's District 1 Public Involvement Coordinator responded, saying, "The contractor will be removing the bridge deck surfaces so it won’t be possible to re-open the lanes until all the work is done on the bridge decks. Yes, there will be congestion and delays. The contractor is working 24/7 at more than one location at once, and will get out of there as quickly as possible. I don’t think people would want to put up with lane closures all summer long, even if it was possible to re-open lanes during the day. The speed is reduced to 45 mph. Other than the eastbound on-ramp at Stateline, all on-and off-ramps will be open. If at all possible, we’re encouraging people to find alternate routes."

She also provided this flyer that ITD put together for the project. Click on it to see it larger or download it and send it to friends so everyone is aware this project is coming.



5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why close a lane? Why not shift lanes and use the median?

KMPO Staff said...

We had this discussion in the office yesterday Anonymous and asked 'Why not do a project this big at night?' or 'Why not do all the bridges at once so the entire project doesn't take 1 1/2 months?' I think this is going to take some further research to find out what ITD was thinking on this one.

Anonymous said...

Restricting an interstate to one lane, 24/7, for a month should be unacceptable. It's as if commerce isn't a consideration. Never mind convenience. And why does it take 20 days to pave and stripe?

That said, there seems to be a way of thinking around here that the only way to work on a road project is to shut the whole thing down for the ease and convenience of the job. (Ex: 4th Street in CdA last summer.) Why can't things be phased to keep streets open?

KMPO Staff said...

In the past couple years, there has been a much better effort to schedule projects so they're minimally inconvenient. With a few exceptions, of course. I've got a call in to ITD to see what the thought process is behind this project's timeline/setup and will report back when I get info.

Anonymous said...

Thanks KMPO for following up.

Still, when ITD says: " The contractor is working 24/7 at more than one location at once, and will get out of there as quickly as possible," it indicates to me then, that this project is poorly planned and perhaps understaffed given the significance of the tranportation corridor.

I guess we'll see how bad the delays get, but I'll wager that the lost time and productivity in slowed traffic will far outweigh the savings on doing this particular project on the cheap.

Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization (KMPO) is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for Kootenai County, Idaho. Federal law requires urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people to have an MPO. KMPO was formed in 2003, to provide coordinated transportation planning within Kootenai county for the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and the Coeur d'Alene tribe.

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