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Eight big road projects could snarl traffic in Coeur d’Alene this work season

UPDATED: Wed., May 10, 2017, 10:41 p.m.

It might take a little patience this summer when going to the lake.

Eight big road projects in and around Coeur d’Alene are expected to snarl traffic for the next several months, transportation officials said Wednesday.

Reconstruction of Interstate 90 through Coeur d’Alene is the largest of the projects. That will involve closing one side of the freeway for work and putting one lane of traffic in each direction using the other side.

The two-year project will be from Ninth to Sherman avenues this year and from Northwest Boulevard to Ninth in 2018.

While that is sure to cause backups, the seven other projects are also going to have major impacts on drivers.

“It will be a few months of orange barrel derby,” said Reed Hollinshead, a spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department.

“People should expect lane closures. People should expect delays, but it will be a good final product,” he said. “We just ask for patience.”

State and Coeur d’Alene city staffers gathered for a news briefing Wednesday near the intersection of U.S. Highway 95 and Ironwood Drive, an area already congested with traffic from major shopping areas, apartments and Kootenai Health services.

“We are working together on this” in coordinating the work, said Vince Tromboli, a spokesman for ITD.

He and the other officials said they foresee trouble ahead if drivers aren’t careful.

“We have so many projects in a such a small area,” Hollinshead said.

“Pay attention. Drive slowly. Watch for workers,” he said.

The need for so much work this year stems in part from economic growth in the Lake City, but also the need to fix deteriorating roadways, officials said.

Hollinshead called the situation “growing pains” for the area. “It’s the price you pay for someplace nice to live.”

He said engineers are planning as much work as possible on nights and weekends to minimize traffic tie-ups.

Here is a rundown of the eight projects:

Full depth reconstruction of I-90 through Coeur d’Alene. The first phase in 2017 goes from Ninth to Sherman to be followed in 2018 by the segment from Northwest to Ninth. Interstate Concrete & Asphalt of North Idaho is the contractor on the $19.8 million project. A 55 mph speed limit will be in place.

To the east of Coeur d’Alene, the state is going to mill down and repave I-90 from Sherman to the Blue Creek Bay Bridge. Traffic will be routed onto one side of the freeway with one lane in each direction. Damage from moisture and freeze-thaw episodes needs repair in the $4.5 million project running from July through September. The contractor is yet to named.

U.S. Highway 95 is getting some repaving work in two segments over the next two months. The sections are from I-90 southward to Linden Avenue and then from the Spokane River Bridge south to Blackwell Slough. Night and weekend work may limit delays. Speed will be reduced to 45 mph south of the river. Poe Asphalt Paving Inc., of Post Falls, is the contractor on the $2.2 million project.

New signs and other sign work are planned for I-90 starting in mid-July from near Stateline eastward into Shoshone County. Pavement Markings Northwest, of Boise, is doing the work on the $1.2 million project. Night and weekend work may help limit slowdowns.

Seltice Way revitalization from Riverstone Drive to Huetter Road is the largest city project at $4.4 million. Work is already underway to rebuild the roadway with new roundabouts at Grand Mill Drive and Atlas Road. T. LaRiviere Equipment & Excavation, of Athol, is the contractor. Completion is expected in summer 2018.

Another large Coeur d’Alene project is widening and reconstruction of Government Way from Hanley to Prairie avenues starting later this spring through late fall. Government Way will get two travel lanes in each direction, a center turn lane, two buffered bike lanes and sidewalks. In addition, traffic signals will be installed on Hanley, Canfield and Prairie avenues. Utility work is included. Traffic will be restricted to one lane in each direction. The contract has yet to be listed.

Work has started on a wider intersection at U.S. 95 and Ironwood Drive, a fairly congested area near Kootenai Health. The $1.7 million project will cause traffic restrictions and delays. Cameron-Reilly Concrete, of Spokane, is the contractor. Completion is expected in July.

Just to the west on Ironwood Drive, a new signalized intersection is being built at Medina Road starting this summer for about $1 million. Lane restrictions are expected. Also, Avista Utilities is replacing a gas line on Ironwood from Northwest Boulevard to Lincoln Way.

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