Highway 53 widening project underway


Orange barrels and signs are up and trees are coming down along State Highway 53 between Rathdrum and the Washington state line.

Several projects are underway to add a center turn lane to a 2-mile stretch of the highway. The first of this work began in late August.

Idaho Transportation Department engineer and project manager Megan Koski said Highway 53 serves more than 12,000 vehicles a day, including drivers who commute between Washington and Idaho.

“The goal of this project and future ones is to make the highway safer by providing turn lanes for drivers,” Koski said in an August ITD news release. “Drivers won’t have to be worried about being rear-ended as they wait to turn left off the highway.”

Work will continue for two years and will focus on the 2 miles starting near McGuire Road and continuing through Bruss Road. Additional safety improvements will be made at the Hauser Lake Road intersection. Two lanes will be open through construction. Speed ​​limits have been reduced.

Right turn lanes and lighting will be installed at the intersections of McGuire Road, North Church Road, Bruss Road and Hauser Lake Road. An acceleration lane at Cloverleaf Road will help drivers get up to speed as they merge into eastbound traffic.

ITD crews will add temporary pavement to the south to maintain traffic as they build the base for the expanded road on the north side of the highway this year, Koski said.

“Next spring we’ll pave over that base and open the new lane to traffic,” she said.

Other similar projects are scheduled near Rathdrum in 2023 and state line in 2027. A nighttime maintenance project this month will resurface patches within the first 2 miles near the state line to keep it in acceptable conditions until the 2027 project.

Since this project overlaps with future plans to build an interchange at Pleasant View Road in 2028, minimal improvements will be constructed near the intersections of Pleasant View Road and Hauser Lake Road at this time, ITD reported.

The department plans to fund a project at the next opportunity to build similar improvements to the 4 miles between Bruss Road and Latah Street.

Visit 511.idaho.gov to check live traffic conditions.

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