SANDPOINT — While the original date for Schweitzer Cutoff Road to open has passed, the end is in sight with a new target date set for later this month.
"Both (the bridge and roundabout) are still scheduled to open before Thanksgiving," said City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton.
City officials initially hoped to see traffic moving through the roundabout by Labor Day, and the bridge was initially scheduled to open by late October. As circumstances delayed the project in August, the dates were pushed back to Nov. 3 for the roundabout, and Nov. 8 for the bridge. Currently, the weather has played a part in delaying the project even more.
"They put blankets down, anticipating paving this week, but the other issue that happens is the asphalt plants get shut down when the weather drops below a certain temperature," Stapleton said.
Stapleton said the city's Public Works director, Ryan Luttmann, has been working closely with contract partners to get the asphalt plants opened up for the project.
Paving of the roundabout is underway this week, and Stapleton said it is likely to be open next week. The bridge will push closer to the Thanksgiving holiday, she said.
Delays on the project earlier this year included some utility conflicts — within that corridor runs power, new fiber line, a water line, storm water lines and telecommunication lines. Crews moved power from one side of the road to the other, and because the area is also in the runway protection zone for the Sandpoint Airport, it required review and approval through the Federal Aviation Administration for new pole locations.
The Schweitzer Cutoff bridge replacement is a joint project between the cities of Ponderay and Sandpoint. The majority of the bridge project is funded by federal dollars, which it qualified for due to an extremely low sufficiency rating. The cities are responsible for a 15-percent match, or 7.5 percent each. The roundabout is Sandpoint's addition to the project and is funded by the city.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.