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ITD approves signal for Banks Lowman Road and Highway 55

An aerial photo of the intersection of State Highway 55 and Banks Lowman Road.
Idaho Transportation Department
The Idaho Transportation Board approved $4 million Wednesday to put a traffic signal at the intersection of Banks Lowman Road and State Highway 55. The intersection suffers from significant backups during summer weekends.

Drivers traveling on State Highway 55 and Banks Lowman Road could soon see some relief from delays and backups during the summer months.

The Idaho Transportation Board Wednesday morning unanimously agreed to spend about $4 million to install a traffic signal there.

Board member Julie DeLorenzo said the complex considerations at the intersection only lead to one solution.

“If you think about these roads and two rivers and the one-lane bridge and another bridge, I don’t know what kind of Jetsons flyover roundabout thing you’d have to invent. I don’t see that we have any option other than a signal,” DeLorenzo said.

A study of the intersection released this spring favored using a signal as well.

The Idaho Transportation Department has used flaggers for the past 10 years during busy summer weekends to help smooth traffic in the area.

The number of vehicles using that intersection has increased by 50% during that time, according to the agency. This past July set the record for average daily vehicle traffic at nearly 14,000 along the two-lane road.

The funds approved Wednesday would also pay for preliminary design work to alter the roadway itself said Vince Trimboli, a project manager for ITD.

“We need to look at widening through and beyond every leg of this intersection,” said Trimboli. “We want to add turn lanes and possibly an acceleration lane to create more capacity on State Highway 55 to get people through there.”

The scope of the work would replace and widen both bridges spanning the north and south forks of the Payette River and install an advanced warning system to detect traffic along both lanes of Highway 55.

The initial traffic signal at the intersection is expected to be installed in 2024.

Cost estimates for the rest of the construction, which has not been approved, range between $40 million and $50 million.

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

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.

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