STITES – A section of Lukes Gulch Road will be shut down this week as Idaho County begins a series of long-awaited repair projects that are estimated to be completed later this fall.
According to county road supervisor Gene Meinen, a series of 10 projects will be conducted between mileposts 4.6 (south of Stites) and 5.5. Knife River is contracted to do the approximate $1.4 million total project to renovate and stabilize the roadway, which was damaged from rain and storm events in April 2019. Target completion is Nov. 1.
“We’re going to keep one lane open so residents can get to and from their places,” Meinen said. General traffic will be directed to use either Stites Road or State Highway 13. Reader boards will be placed at both ends of the project, advising motorists of the closure.
Heavy rain saturation and creek action cutting away at the toe of the slope resulted in failure of shoulder sections along Lukes Gulch Road, according to Meinen. The road is generally passable; however, some sections are essential one lane currently due to shoulders having fallen off.
The repair work will involve excavating damaged shoulder sections and removing material to be replaced with 6-to-8-inch granular burrow rock, along with geogrid reinforcing fabric to help lock the shoulder into the bank. Some sections will also receive new culverts and drain tile.
Of the approximate $1.4 million, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be funding about $865,000 of the cost, with Idaho County covering the remainder.
“We recognize it’s going to be an inconvenience, but something has to be done,” Meinen said. “If left unattended, there won’t be a road left.”
Questions on the project, call the county shop: 208-926-4471.