The Idaho Transportation Department says it’s working to relieve delays facing motorists on Idaho Highway 55 north of Boise, but drivers still face some waiting.
Lane restrictions are in effect at two sites near Eagle where work is being done on a realignment project. North, from Horseshoe Bend to Banks, 14 miles of the highway is being resurfaced and passing lanes are being constructed to relieve congestion and improve safety.
That plus heavy traffic travel on the eve of the Fourth of July holiday led to some of the worst traffic jams ever seen in Idaho.
Motorists talked of 2-1/2-hour delays while traveling north from Boise to Cascade and McCall, prime summer recreation areas. The problem was compounded on July 4 by the traditional parade at Cascade, when traffic through the town was stopped for more than an hour.
One of those trapped in the gridlock, state Sen. James Risch, R-Boise, asked the department what it could do to relieve the congestion.
“I haven’t had a response yet, but I would assume I will,” Risch said Tuesday. “I really anticipate I’ll be getting something. If I don’t, then I’ll go get it.” He is Senate majority leader.
The highway agency said motorists should consider taking U.S. Highway 95 to McCall, where construction projects have been completed, or avoid driving on Idaho 55 during peak traffic hours.
The department said generally, daytime traffic is lowest in the early morning and increases steadily during the day. Crews are trying to keep delays to 10 minutes at each site, but because of unforeseen problems, motorists should allow at least an extra 30 minutes when driving between Boise and Banks.
The Transportation Department said some construction will be done at night to reduce delays.
The project is scheduled to be completed by Labor Day weekend. The Eagle project is expected to be completed by mid-October.
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