The Idaho Transportation Department has been putting its attention on repairing not just one road, but two during the State 3 widening project.
Damage to the Goosehaven Road detour route has been ongoing due to consistent precipitation over the last several weeks. The damage has required the attention of the ITD more than previously anticipated.
The ITD has been working to mend potholes caused by the rains but the constant repairs has slowed down motorists on the detour route. Rain has also created excessive mud which can be attributed to vehicles sliding on an already narrow road.
“Given the detour is a dirt road, a lot of rain means a lot of severe potholes after traffic runs on it,” ITD Public Information Officer Megan Jahns said. “(Contractor) Knife River has been extremely proactive about maintaining the detour and timing repairs when there’s fewer cars on the road, but damage has been so severe, crews are having to work on it often, adding to delays on the detour route.”
When it isn’t raining, dry periods have also created the issue of excessive dust on the roadway.
“Our preference is to use magnesium chloride to keep the dust down, but there’s a longer lead time on that product, and we need a few days of back-to-back warm and dry weather to make it cost effective,” Jahns said. “Scheduling treatments around the rain has been challenging, and we have been using water to keep down the dust when possible.”
“Note that while water will help keep the dust down, if we apply too much it will make the detour more susceptible to potholes,” she added.
Jahns said the work to maintain the detour route has come with some costs which includes the progress of the overall project.
“Time spent maintaining the detour comes at the cost of progressing on the actual project, so we are balancing the need to keep the detour in acceptable shape with completing the safety project,” she said. “Our goal is to focus on finishing this project on time so that drivers don’t have to use the detour.”
Despite the concerns surrounding the detour route, Jahns said the contractors are back to being slated to finish the road-widening project by late August. The crews will continue to work on the road day and night.
“We are continuing to excavate near the northbound lane to widen the highway,” she said. “Right now we’re a little more than halfway done and expect to wrap up that effort this month.”
She said delays for motorists will continue to be similar to what they have been over the past several weeks, and added drivers who plan to use the road should plan an extra 20 to 25 minutes in their commute or avoid the roadway entirely.
For more information or for updates on delays, call the ITD District 1 office at 208-772-1200.