Work Begins on US 95 Rerouting Project | Local

The Idaho Department of Transportation announced that preliminary work has begun on the planned expansion and rerouting of U.S. Highway 95 near Moscow.

Teams mobilized and began surveying the Thorn Creek Road area in Moscow.

The project, which ITD has been planning since 1999, will move 6.5 miles of the freeway east and widen it from two lanes to four. It will also include flatter grades, fewer approaches and less severe curves, according to ITD. The aim is to improve driver safety.

Crews will begin earthworks and the construction of two new bridges over Eid Road this year.

Compared to the existing route, the new section of US 95 will ascend at a more gentle grade up Reisenauer Hill to the prairie below Paradise Ridge. The highway will cross small hills below the ridge to maintain a constant grade, cross Eid Road via a bridge and descend to Moscow.

New ditches will be created to prevent precipitation from pooling on the roadway, and a 30-foot clear zone will provide a safe zone if a vehicle veers off the road.

County road intersections will have right and left turn lanes. In the urban section just south of Moscow, a central turning lane, curbs, gutters and sidewalks will be added.

According to ITD, only part of the construction will be visible from the current highway. Drivers should expect contractor vehicles and equipment to be near Zeitler Road for the next few months.

Since the highway is diverted to the east, the impacts on drivers should be minimal. Motorists will be able to take the new route in the fall of 2024.

MA DeAtley Construction of Clarkston was awarded the $57.7 million construction contract in November.

ITD is in the process of relinquishing jurisdiction over what will be former US 95 to the North Latah Highway District.

On March 22, the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claiming that the agency wrongly granted a Clean Water Act permit to the ITD for its US 95 project.

This is the fourth time the non-profit group has challenged highway diversion plans. He says the new alignment will harm the Palouse prairie, big game habitat and several wetlands.

Maria D. Ervin