Flaggers on Highway 55 to help drivers over holiday weekend
If your holiday plans include travel on Idaho’s highway 55, the Idaho Transportation Department asks you to avoid the heaviest traffic by traveling outside peak travel times or using alternate routes.
ITD will arrange for flaggers to help with traffic flow through the Idaho 55 junction with the Banks-to-Lowman Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.
Since 1995, the Transportation Department has helped drivers over the longer Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day holiday weekends at the heavily traveled junction. .
Travelers will see electronic message boards and flaggers in that corridor to help move traffic smoothly on Monday (Sept. 3), starting at 10 a.m. Flaggers will remain in place until traffic on the Banks-Lowman highway can safely enter Idaho 55 without aid.
An Incident Response vehicle also will be stationed at the junction.
"Congestion is heaviest in this area, as travelers from the Garden Valley area access Idaho 55," ITD Maintenance Engineer Tom Points said. "We want everyone to have a safe and fun trip."
During holiday weekends, significantly more vehicles travel on those roads as compared to the average day.
About three times as much traffic travels on Idaho 55 than on the Banks-to-Lowman highway, so the flaggers maintain that same 3-to-1 ratio in terms of traffic delays: 30-minute delays on the Banks-to-Lowman highway and 10 minutes on Idaho 55.
All ITD projects will be suspended statewide July 3-5.
The Transportation Department offers these tips for holiday weekend travelers:
- Congestion is usually heaviest on the last afternoon of the holiday weekend, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Consider returning from your trip before or after that 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 might consider using 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.
(photo: courtesy ITD)