Intersection project will pick back up

In this six-second exposure, construction markers stand unwavered as vehicles drive south along 17th Avenue through the intersection at 16th Street in Lewiston on Tuesday night. Construction at the intersection, which has recently been delayed, is expected to pick back up next week.

The stalled project to upgrade the busy intersection of 16th Avenue and 17th Street in Lewiston should get back on track next week.

City of Lewiston Project Engineer Alannah Bailey said manufacturing issues at a Texas plant delayed the delivery of two traffic signal poles for the eastbound and westbound lanes of 16th Avenue. But they are now en route and should arrive in time for work by Lewiston general contractor M.L. Albright and Sons to resume Dec. 12, barring any weather-related delays.

“Those poles always have a long lead time, but then something happened at the factory that delayed all their poles,” Bailey said.

Remaining work on the $505,506 project includes mounting the poles on bases that have already been completed, activating the signals and finishing some concrete work on the southeast corner. The overall project includes the addition of turn lanes and upgrades to the pedestrian ramps and sidewalks at the intersection.

The work disrupted vehicle and pedestrian traffic for several weeks, but lane and sidewalk restrictions were lifted during the pause in construction. Bailey said there may be some traffic revisions while crews install the poles next week. Work is expected to be complete by Christmas.

Another street and infrastructure project that snarled traffic during the summer and fall months should be 100 percent complete in the next couple of weeks. The resurfacing of the stretch of Main Street between 18th and Jefferson streets got off to a rough start when workers discovered substandard conditions under the old pavement.

Initial core samples indicated that the road base was in good shape and the resurfacing could be completed by simply grinding off and replacing a layer of asphalt. But workers uncovered inconsistent conditions when they ground off the asphalt, and the Lewiston City Council opted to sink an additional $650,000 into the project to have the stretch completely rebuilt. That emergency funding shift means there will be no hot-mix projects completed next year, according to Public Works Director Chris Davies.

Originally, the project was funded by a $672,670 award from the Idaho 2019 Local Strategic Initiatives program, with the city adding about $660,000 from its water fund reserves to simultaneously replace the water main under the street.

It also meant the crews from the general contractor, again M.L. Albright and Sons, had to work longer and overnight hours to get the job done, City Engineer Shawn Stubbers said.

“I think that project went better than some people would give it credit for,” Stubbers said, noting that Albright volunteered to work nights to minimize the disruption to traffic and adjacent businesses. “They were the ones that proposed that as an option to try to meet the need. We really do our best to keep the projects short and reduce the impacts (to businesses), because they live and die over people being able to get there easily.”

The construction season in Lewiston will largely end with the completion of those two projects over the next few weeks. Motorists also have the monthslong project to rebuild the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and 21st Street in their rearview mirrors. But road work will resume fairly early next year, with one of the first major undertakings getting started near Winco Foods.

That $285,513 project will add a new bus shelter on 19th Avenue, and turn the southern eastbound lane into a bus-only lane before and after the bus stop.

“Right now, that bus stop goes into Winco, so this will keep all of the city bus services in the public right of way, so we’re not going onto private property,” Bailey said.

Crews from United Contracting of Lewiston will also add sidewalks along the stretch of 19th Avenue on either side of the bus shelter and on both sides of 17th Street to the south of the intersection. The sidewalk on the west side of 17th Street will run to 21st Street and connect to existing sidewalk that begins there, Bailey said.

The contractor can begin the project whenever it chooses, but the contract gives 50 working days and a completion deadline of June 26. Bailey guessed work could begin around March after the coldest, wettest weather passes. There are two lanes of travel in every direction at the intersection, so traffic should still be able to flow even if the work closes a lane, she said.

Mills may be contacted at jmills@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2266.

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