ITD to roll out red carpet for Moscow project
Getting into and out of Moscow from the south just got a lot easier. And smoother. And faster.
The Idaho Transportation Department recently finished rebuilding U.S. 95 from the South Fork Palouse River Bridge to Sweet Avenue, providing four travel lanes, a center turn lane and a new five-lane bridge at the southern city limit.
And thats reason to celebrate.
ITD will join the City of Moscow and the University of Idaho in formally dedicating the new highway segment Friday afternoon (Sept. 17). A ceremony is planned at the intersection of U.S. 95 (also known as Main Street) and Sweet Avenue, beginning at 1 p.m.
Representatives from the City of Moscow, the University of Idaho and ITD will participate in the formal opening. The university and city were instrumental in planning the public celebration.
Its not the first party at the intersection.
All three partners joined in celebrating the completion of the Moscow South Couplet and new Sweet Avenue gateway to the university in 2001. Combined, the two projects provide a safer, less congested route through the heart of Moscow and will connect with an expanded U.S. 95 from Moscow to Lewiston. Construction on the southern part of the Lewiston-Moscow route is expected to begin near the top of Lewiston Hill next year.
Completing the critical link in Moscow was a complex process. Crews from A&R Construction of Lewiston began at the South Fork Palouse River Bridge in June 2003. They closed a portion of the two-lane bridge and began the arduous task of moving underground utilities and constructing half of the new bridge.
After the first half was completed, traffic was moved onto the new bridge. That enabled crews to demolish the old bridge and begin construction of the second half of the new structure.
Its always more complex and time consuming to build a bridge in two phases while accommodating traffic, explained Drew Woods, project engineer for ITD. It requires a lot of patience, both by the traveling public, nearby property owners and construction workers.
We appreciate the help and understanding that Moscow residents and motorists demonstrated during the project. We couldnt have succeeded without them.
He also thanked area business owners/operators and residents along the U.S. 95 corridor for coping with construction-related restrictions. In exchange, they now have a vastly improved route and much safer conditions for customers and pedestrians as well as motorists, Woods emphasized.
Construction on $4 million project began in June 2003. The South Fork Palouse River Bridge was completed by the end of the first construction season. Work resumed this year on the route from the bridge to Sweet Avenue.
In addition to the expanded travel lanes and new bridge, the project included:
The project also benefited from the generous donation of property by the University of Idaho and prominent Moscow dentist Dr. Gerald Weitz and his wife Consuelo. Their gifts helped contain costs and save taxpayer expenses, Woods said.
The Weitzes donated a parcel of land near Styner Road and U.S. 95 to accommodate a new traffic signal. The University of Idaho contributed land along the west side of U.S. 95 that enabled expansion of the travel lanes.
This complex project presented a number of challenges, and it is a credit to all of our partners that we were able to provide Moscow citizens with a beautiful new southern entrance, Woods said.