June 25, 1995 in Idaho

Road Ranking Helps Steer Repairs State Tries To Sink Money Into Stretches With Worst Rating

By The Spokesman-Review
 

North Idaho drivers may have their own choices for worst roads in the state. But state transportation officials contend the roughest road in North Idaho is a stretch of state Highway 6 near St. Maries in Benewah County.

Idaho Transportation Department staff and engineers keep an ongoing survey of the worst roads in the five North Idaho counties. The nine miles of road south of St. Maries leads the state’s list of rutted, chipped and worn-down highways.

Coeur d’Alene’s Sherman Avenue between Eighth and 14th streets holds the second-worst road distinction in North Idaho.

Sandpoint drivers who are dealing with wear and tear on their suspensions and tires can understand why, as the transportation department has three sections of U.S. Highway 95 included on the bad road list.

The ranking comes from a series of tests of rutting and cracking, and a friction index, which determines how long it takes a vehicle to stop.

The list of worst roads helps state engineers set priorities for repairs and resurfacing. “It’s a tool, but it’s not the only determiner,” said Larry Wolf, assistant engineer for the agency in North Idaho.

Other factors that help decide which roads are repaired first include safety record and traffic volume.

Panhandle roads are being worn down fast from heavy use, said Wolf. He said most North Idaho roads register an average of about 15 percent more traffic than a few years back.

Sandpoint’s rough road conditions stem from heavy car and truck traffic on aging roads, Wolf said.

It’s been about 60 years since underlayers of sections of Highway 95 in the city have been replaced, he said.

State engineers say any road that scores less than 2.0 (out of a possible 5.0) on the pavement management index is considered in serious need of repair. Most drivers consider those road surfaces “unacceptable and account for a rough, bumpy, uneven ride,” Wolf said.

Six of the 10 worst roads in North Idaho will undergo repairs or resurfacing in the next several months, said Wolf.

A legislative report last week showed Idaho falling further behind in managing the condition of its roads and highways. The study said federal officials for the past three years have given Idaho less money than promised.

Transportation officials said in the report that the backlog of state road projects could total $6 billion by the year 2000.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Top 10 worst roads in North Idaho Here is a list of the 10 worst roads in North Idaho. Roads with a condition index of less than 2.0 (out of a possible 5.0) are considered in serious need of repair. State Highway 6 south of St. Maries, nine miles. Condition index: .90. A $1.13 million project has started to improve the highway. Interstate Business 90 or Sherman Avenue, about one-third of a mile between Eighth and 14th streets in Coeur d’Alene. Condition index: .95. City street engineers plan to use recently approved improvement bond money to repair the street. U.S. Highway 2, about six miles near Priest River east of Laclede. Condition index: 1.1. One section is under construction. Repairs to another section will begin next year. U.S. Highway 95 at the south end of Sandpoint, about three-tenths of a mile just as drivers curve onto First Street off the Long Bridge. Condition index: 1.16. Construction work of about $450,000 will start later this year. U.S. Highway 95 inside Sandpoint, about a quarter-mile of Pine Street, between First and Fifth streets downtown. Condition index: 1.17. Work will be included with other Sandpoint projects starting this year. State Highway 200, about 1.5 miles of road east of Hope, Idaho. Condition index: 1.19. No project is under way or scheduled. U.S. Highway 95, the quarter-mile of First Street in downtown Sandpoint from Superior Street north. Condition index: 1.2. Work will be included with other Sandpoint projects. State Highway 97 north of Harrison, 6.7 miles in the Half Round Bay area. Condition index: 1.22. No work planned or under way. Business Loop 90 in downtown Kellogg, about four-tenths of a mile on Cameron Street. Condition index: 1.23. City officials have plans for improvements. State Highway 97 north of Harrison, about 6.5 miles in the Carlin Bay area. Condition index: 1.29. No project planned.

This sidebar appeared with the story: Top 10 worst roads in North Idaho Here is a list of the 10 worst roads in North Idaho. Roads with a condition index of less than 2.0 (out of a possible 5.0) are considered in serious need of repair. State Highway 6 south of St. Maries, nine miles. Condition index: .90. A $1.13 million project has started to improve the highway. Interstate Business 90 or Sherman Avenue, about one-third of a mile between Eighth and 14th streets in Coeur d’Alene. Condition index: .95. City street engineers plan to use recently approved improvement bond money to repair the street. U.S. Highway 2, about six miles near Priest River east of Laclede. Condition index: 1.1. One section is under construction. Repairs to another section will begin next year. U.S. Highway 95 at the south end of Sandpoint, about three-tenths of a mile just as drivers curve onto First Street off the Long Bridge. Condition index: 1.16. Construction work of about $450,000 will start later this year. U.S. Highway 95 inside Sandpoint, about a quarter-mile of Pine Street, between First and Fifth streets downtown. Condition index: 1.17. Work will be included with other Sandpoint projects starting this year. State Highway 200, about 1.5 miles of road east of Hope, Idaho. Condition index: 1.19. No project is under way or scheduled. U.S. Highway 95, the quarter-mile of First Street in downtown Sandpoint from Superior Street north. Condition index: 1.2. Work will be included with other Sandpoint projects. State Highway 97 north of Harrison, 6.7 miles in the Half Round Bay area. Condition index: 1.22. No work planned or under way. Business Loop 90 in downtown Kellogg, about four-tenths of a mile on Cameron Street. Condition index: 1.23. City officials have plans for improvements. State Highway 97 north of Harrison, about 6.5 miles in the Carlin Bay area. Condition index: 1.29. No project planned.


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