Eighty-mile-an-hour clear sailing should return in the next week or two on Interstate 84 across the Magic Valley.
Much of the last year and a half has seen 70 mph limits and, since July, just 65 mph on two-lane, two-way roads as the Idaho Transportation Department has been reconstructing a 12-mile stretch of I-84 between Twin Falls and Burley.
The finishing touches on the westbound lanes should be complete by the end of September or early October, ITD spokeswoman Jessica Williams said.
She explained that the work was necessary because of the “age and the state of the roadway.” “The roadway had not been fully reconstructed since it was originally built,” Williams said. “The roadway was potholed, had soft spots, rutting and cracks in it.”
Knife River Corp. started work on the eastbound lanes in late June 2017 with traffic in both directions shifted over to the westbound lanes for an 18-mile stretch.
The original asphalt from the late-1950s and early 1960s was removed and new asphalt was installed with eastbound work completed in November. Westbound pavement removal started in early April, Williams said.
New pavement was installed from Milepost 182 (the Kimberly/Hansen exit and U.S. 50 interchange) to Milepost 194 (the Ridgeway Road exit) in the $23-million project. However, requirements called for shifting traffic for an 18-mile stretch, Williams said.
Five miles of freeway have reopened with the two-lane, two-way traffic remaining on 13 miles.