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Idaho Transportation Department Shelves Highway 55 Construction As Winter Looms

Idaho Transportation Department
A two-year project to straighten out a section of Idaho Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley, seen in this October 2020 file photo, has halted work for the winter.

Both lanes of traffic are now open on Highway 55 as Idaho transportation officials have shut down road construction there until next spring.

The two-year Highway 55 project began in September. Rolling lane closures backed up traffic along one of Idaho’s just two north-south roads south of New Meadows.

The project will straighten a stretch of road between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley and install guardrails along portions of it next to the Payette River to improve safety.

The Idaho Transportation Department says crash rates along this section of Highway 55 are higher than other parts of the road, with drivers going too fast or losing control of their vehicles on sharp turns.

Crews have already removed several tons of rock from the site. More than 140,000 tons are expected to be taken out of the hillside by the time it’s completed in 2022.

Closures and one-way traffic are expected to resume in mid-March, weather permitting.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.
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