ITD increases flagging resources at Highway 55 and Banks-Lowman Road

Highway 55/ Banks-Lowman
Posted at 9:39 AM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 12:01:17-04

BANKS, Idaho — The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is doubling the number of days flagging will be done at Highway 55 and Banks-Lowman Road intersection. Flaggers will be at the intersection on the six weekends this summer anticipated having the highest number of travelers at the intersection.

ITD urges drivers to plan for travel delays on ID-55 between Boise and Cascade and on Banks-Lowman Road during summer weekends. Flagging the intersection relieves some congestion on Banks-Lowman Road but also slows traffic on ID-55, according to ITD.

ITD says historically, flaggers were used for Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. Using historical data and partnering with local event organizers, ITD is changing which days flaggers will be used this year.

The current schedule for flagging is:

  • June 20
  • July 5
  • All remaining Sundays in July
  • September 6

“We removed Memorial Day from our flagging schedule after we looked at years of travel data,” said Caleb Lakey, District Administrator of ITD’s Southwest Idaho Office. “We confirmed the reports of our maintenance staff that there are, on average, more cars on the road any given Sunday in July and the first weeks of August than Memorial Day. A lot of that is weather dependent, and we may still see a lot of people on the road if we have warm temperatures early on."

ITD is partnering with the Western Federal Land Division of the Federal Highway Administration to develop a plan for improvements at this intersection. The project launched in March 2021, according to ITD, and will complete environmental and geotechnical work. There will also be preliminary design options for the intersection improvement.

ITD will seek additional funding to finish the design, acquire the right of way and construct the improvement.

The 2021 flagging operation is the result of engagement between ITD and Boise and Valley County communities. In 2019, a public meeting in Garden Valley was held to discuss the intersection and a community working group was formed. That group spent 2020 developing this plan.

“I want to thank the community for partnering with us on this situation,” added Lakey. “We all want to see business flourish while preserving the unique beauty of Idaho’s Central Mountains. The impacts of growth in southwest Idaho is felt in every community. The public servants at ITD are doing everything we can to meet the growing needs. All users of the road need to take responsibility to plan ahead, drive well, and make wise decisions.”

ITD encourages those traveling from or through the McCall/New Meadows area to consider using U.S. 95 as an alternate route. Those with trips from Stanley or Lowman should consider using Idaho Highway 21 to avoid the congested intersection.