Flaggers to help traffic flow Monday on Idaho 55

If your holiday weekend plans include driving on Idaho 55 between Boise and McCall, ITD asks you to avoid the heaviest traffic by traveling outside of peak times or using alternate routes. ITD again will arrange for flaggers to help with traffic flow at the junction of Idaho 55 and the Banks-to-Lowman Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.
Since 1995, ITD has assisted motorists on the final day of extended Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends.

Flaggers will help traffic move smoothly through the congested junction beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing as long as traffic volume warrants. Motorists also should watch for electronic message boards that warn of congestion.

An Incident Response vehicle also will be available for special assistance.

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 traveling the Banks-to-Lowman road (versus 1,000 average for a May 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.

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

ITD offers the following tips for holiday weekend travelers:

  • Drivers are asked to ensure that all vehicle occupants are properly secured in seat belts or child restraints.
  • If celebrations include alcohol consumption, choose a non-drinking person to drive.
  • Motorists are urged to use patience and caution when returning from the long weekend. They should expect the trip to take longer than usual and plan accordingly.
  • 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.

ITD also suspends highway construction projects statewide for the holiday weekend unless that activity has no impact on traffic.

Published 5-27-2011