Passing lanes to be added on stretches of U.S. 95 in Idaho
The projects, which will add passing lanes to stretches in Whitebird Hill and Culdesac Canyon in north-central Idaho, are scheduled to begin in June or July and be completed by early autumn.
For the Culdesac Canyon portion of the project, a 1.3-mile passing lane will be constructed on an uphill section of U.S. 95 in close proximity to Lapwai Creek Bridge – a section on which about 3,000 vehicles travel daily.
Officials expect the addition of a passing lane to increase traffic on the stretch to about 4,740 vehicles daily over the next two decades and that it will alleviate traffic congestion and delays along the corridor. The cost for this portion of the project is $1.14 million.
The $726,000 passing-lane addition in Whitebird Hill will consist of two continuous uphill passing lanes that will run the entire northbound length of Whitebird Hill. Officials predict the number of accidents will decrease as more passing opportunities are created and slower-moving vehicles (particularly trucks) are given more time to accelerate before they merge back into the flow of traffic at the top of the hill.
These passing lane construction projects are part of a group of road and bridge projects that were approved this past December by the Idaho Transportation Board under the Idaho Transportation Department’s Strategic Initiatives Program (SIP). Several projects were considered; those chosen for completion were evaluated on potential for return on investment as well as impact on safety, mobility and economic opportunities.