Traffic control to aid motorists on Idaho 55 Monday

If your Labor Day weekend plans include travel on Idaho 55, the Idaho Transportation Department asks you to avoid the heaviest traffic by traveling outside peak travel times or using alternate routes. ITD will again supply flaggers to help with traffic flow.
Since 1995, ITD has assisted motorists over the longer Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends at the heavily traveled intersection of Idaho 55 and the Banks-to-Lowman Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.
Travelers will see electronic message boards in that area along with flaggers to help traffic move smoothly on Monday (Sept. 6) starting at 10 a.m. Flaggers will remain in place until no longer required.

An Incident Response vehicle also will be on hand.

"Congestion is heaviest in this area, as travelers from the Garden Valley area access Idaho 55," said ITD Maintenance Engineer Gary Moles. "We want everyone to have a safe and fun weekend."

During holiday weekends, significantly more traffic travels on those roads as compared to the average day. On Labor Day last year, there were more than 1,800 vehicles traversing the Banks-to-Lowman road (versus 1,000 average for a September day) and nearly 4,000 going southbound on Idaho 55 (vs. 2,000 average).
That's about three times as much traffic on Idaho 55 compared to the Banks-to-Lowman highway, so the flaggers maintain that same 3:1 ratio in terms of traffic delays - 15 minute delays on the Banks-to-Lowman highway versus 5 minutes on Idaho 55.

All ITD projects will be suspended during the holiday and many will resume Monday night or Tuesday (Sept. 6 or 7).

The transportation department offers the following tips for holiday weekend travelers:

  • Congestion is heaviest on the last evening of the holiday weekend, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Consider returning from your trip before or after this time to avoid the rush.
  • Consider using an alternate route. To use U.S. 95, travel north on Idaho 55 from McCall, take U.S. 95 south and use Interstate 84 to return to the Treasure Valley. This route may take less time than using Idaho 55 on a congested day.
  • Recreationists leaving the Garden Valley area may want to use Idaho 21 to return to the Treasure Valley.
  • If you choose to use Idaho 55 when congestion is heaviest, be patient and plan an extra hour or two for your return trip.

Published 9-3-2010