The federal government has reissued the construction permits to complete the long planned for safer segment of U.S. Highway 95 South of Moscow.
The Idaho Transportation Department began constructing the new six miles of highway in early 2022. The project will build a safer section of highway further up Paradise Ridge. The new four lane segment will be wider, flatter and straighter.
Work was limited in August of last year when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspended the construction permits that involved wetland sites. The move was in response to the latest legal challenge from the local environmental group called the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition. The organization has been fighting the highway safety improvements for decades. ITD officials say the corps has reissued those construction permits and crews have returned to working in the entire project area. The new section of US95 South of Moscow is still scheduled to be complete in the fall of next year.
The project was first announced by ITD last century in 1999. Work was initially set to begin 20 years ago before the coalition successfully sued ITD forcing a full environmental assessment of the project.
When the work was first announced it was supposed to cost taxpayers about 17 million dollars. The decades of delays have raised the cost of the new highway segment to nearly 60 million dollars.