First weekend closure scheduled for roundabout construction

LEWISTON, ID - A project that's been in the making for over ten years, will make it's traffic-stopping debut, with construction slated to start Friday night.

The first roundabout for Lewiston and the region has a completion date of November 2013. Riedesel Engineering, Project Manager John Mortenson, said safety is the number one reason why roundabouts throughout the nation are becoming more common than not.

"The collisions that you do have in a roundabout intersection are generally at lower speeds and the angle of impact is generally one where people do not get injured," said Mortenson.

However to enjoy that roundabout in the future, the public is asked to drive around right now. The first of two scheduled weekend closures of the intersection of Southway Avenue and Snake River Avenue begin Friday evening.

"The contractor will close the intersection at 8 p.m. Friday night and open it back up to traffic Monday morning at 6 a.m.," said Mortenson.

"And then the second week closure will be the following week and so were going to get it done now and then after this it should be open," said City of Lewiston Assistant Engineer Alannah Bailey.

During that time, lead contractor Poe Asphalt, will work around the clock.

"If you're aware of the way Lewiston's set up, there's not a whole lot of access to get east and west," said Bailey. "And so closing that down really becomes a problem for commuters and everyday traffic."

Bailey said unfortunately there was no way around it.

"The contractor can raise the grade of the road about four feet and he's also going to be installing some storm water pipes, catch basins and manholes," said Mortenson.

Despite the road closure, alternate routes for vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians will be posted.

"The detour is going to be from Bryden to Eighth to Eleventh," said Bailey. "So it goes around the project."

The project is estimated to cost a little more than $2 million and the majority is paid for by federal funds.