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TWIN FALLS • Work is beginning on the long-awaited second stage of the reconstruction in the desert south of the Interstate 84/U.S. 93 junction, the Idaho Transportation Department announced. Construction is expected to be completed near the end of October.

Starting immediately, crews will begin replacing the eastbound I-84 bridge at the 173 interchange, realigning the eastbound on- and off-ramps, and installing a relocated traffic signal at the south end of the junction.

Crews will begin with ramp construction, followed by signal installation and bridge work over the next two months. Traffic on I-84 will be shifted onto the westbound lanes as the eastbound bridge is removed and replaced beginning in May.

The second stage of the junction comes years after the construction of Stage One, which was completed in the spring of 2003. Stage Two was delayed, then canceled after funding was redistributed. A portion of the original Stage Two was built in 2011 with concrete paving of U.S. 93 through the junction. Last year, the Idaho Transportation Board chose to fund Stage Two with statewide construction savings.

The additional space between the ramps and the junction will someday facilitate a third stage of construction to install loop ramps. The final stage will be scheduled when traffic increases to the point that the added ramps are necessary.

Western Construction of Boise is the contractor for the $11.8 million reconstruction project.

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Most traffic delays will occur once the bridge work begins, but drivers should be aware that other traffic delays due to rock blasting will begin as soon as this week. As a precaution, short delays and rolling road closures will take place on both I-84 and U.S. 93 when blasts take place near the roadways.

Delays may be more frequent on U.S. 93 between Golf Course Road and I-84 as much of the area near the roadway will be used as a gravel source for the project. Areas on both sides of the highway are owned by the Idaho Department of Lands and leased to ITD for gravel and material sources. A portion of the quarry area will close space historically used for motorcycle and other recreational activity northeast of the Golf Course Road intersection. Users are advised to stay out of the source area to avoid injury.

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