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ITD board moves up $180M in road projects, including rebuilding Meridian interchange

The Idaho Transportation Board, meeting in Coeur d'Alene today, voted to move up nine major road construction projects around the state, saying cost savings and interest savings are allowing them to push them up. Three of the projects, all in the Treasure Valley, also will tap $80 million in existing GARVEE bonding authority for part of the project cost; they will reconstruct the Meridian Road, Broadway and Gowen Road interchanges on I-84, with work scheduled to start in 2014.

The other projects include straightening and realigning U.S. 2 from Lake Street to Cedar Street in Sandpoint, on which construction will start in 2013; realigning U.S. 95 from Thorn Creek to Moscow, a seven-mile project now scheduled to start construction in 2015; restoring four miles of pavement on I-84 from the Meridian Interchange to Five Mile Road, which will start in late 2012; and construction of a new eastbound interchange at the junction of I-84 and U.S. 93 near Twin Falls, on which work will start in late 2012. Click below for the ITD board's full announcement.


7/19/2012


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Board approves plans to expedite key projects in Idaho Transportation Investment Program

COEUR d'ALENE – The Idaho Transportation Board today approved a resolution that will expedite approximately $180 million of highway construction projects in key corridors to improve mobility, safety and economic opportunity for Idahoans.

“With low interest rates, the need to improve safety, grow the economy through construction jobs, remove bottlenecks to commerce and improve traffic flow, the board decided unanimously to advance these projects,” said Jerry Whitehead, chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board. “Saving money and putting it right back on the road reflects well on the people and management of the Transportation Department.”

The projects will be advanced through:

•    Department efficiencies, cost savings, and cash management
•    Lower-than-anticipated costs in all of the department’s construction programs
•    Inflation and interest savings, and a
•    Transportation board decision to issue GARVEE bonds totaling $80 million.

Projects selected for advancement in the Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP) include:

•    Improvements to U.S. 2 in Sandpoint that will improve safety and mobility
•    Realigning seven miles of U.S. 95 from Thorn Creek to Moscow
•    Reconstructing the Meridian, Broadway and Gowen interchanges on I-84 in the Treasure Valley
•    Restoring pavement on I-84 between the Meridian Interchange and Five Mile Road
•    Completing the I-84/U.S. 93 interchange near Twin Falls
•    Constructing a new interchange on U.S. 20 in eastern Idaho
•    Adding a turn bay on Idaho 39 west of Blackfoot

Interest rates for Grant Anticipated Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds are currently 4 percent, but are subject to the prevailing rate when bonds are issued.

The Idaho Legislature authorized the Transportation Board to issue up to $855 million in GARVEE bonds that allow Idaho to borrow money for highway projects, then repay it with future federal highway funds.

Project selection was based on readiness, pavement condition, congestion and safety factors.

U.S. 2, Lake Street to Cedar Street, Sandpoint: This project straightens curves on a ½-mile stretch of U.S. 2 in Sandpoint. Estimated cost for the project is $7.5 million. There was no construction date set for this project. Construction now is expected to begin in 2013.

U.S. 95, Thorn Creek to Moscow: This project realigns seven miles of U.S. 95 between Thorn Creek and Moscow. The board allocated $20 million that will be combined with $20 million previously committed by Congress. Initially there was no construction date set for this project. Construction now is scheduled to begin in 2015.  Estimated cost for construction is between $40 million to $45 million.  

I-84, Meridian Road Interchange: This project reconstructs the interchange on I-84 at Meridian Road. There was no construction date set for this project. It now is expected to begin late in the 2013-14 construction season.  Estimated cost for construction is $40 million. (Partial GARVEE funding)

I-84, Meridian Interchange to Five Mile Road: This project will restore four miles of pavement in both the east- and westbound lanes. Construction was scheduled for 2016 but now will be advanced to late 2012. Estimated cost for the project is $20 million.

I-84, Broadway Avenue Interchange: This project reconstructs the interchange on I-84 at Broadway Avenue. There was no construction date set. Construction now is scheduled to begin in 2014. Estimated cost for construction is $44 million.  (Partial GARVEE funding)

I-84, Gowen Road Interchange:  This project reconstructs the interchange on I-84 at Gowen Road. There was no construction date set for this project. Construction is expected to begin in 2014. Estimated cost for construction is $28 million. (Partial GARVEE funding)

Junction Interstate I-84/U.S. 93 Interchange Stage 2: This project constructs a new eastbound interchange. The westbound portion of the interchange was completed in 2003. There was no construction date set for this project. Now construction is expected to begin in late 2012. Estimated cost for the project is $14.7 million.

U.S. 20, Thornton Interchange: This project constructs a new interchange on U.S. 20 near 4700 South or Smith Road. There was no construction date set for this project. Construction now is expected to begin in 2017. The cost of the project is estimated at $16.9 million.

Idaho 39, Thomas Road Turn Lane: This project adds a turn lane on Idaho 39 at Thomas Lane west of Blackfoot. Construction was scheduled for 2016, but now will begin in 2014. Cost for the project is estimated at $500,000.

The public will be able to view and comment on the proposed projects in the state’s five-year ITIP by visiting the transportation department website, itd.idaho.gov. The project list will be available soon. In addition to making comments online, individuals can mail comments to:

Public Involvement Coordinator
ITD Office of Communications
3311 W. State Street
Boise, ID  83707-1129

Comments also can be e-mailed to: comments@itd.idaho.gov

The Idaho Transportation Board anticipates making a final decision on the transportation program at its September business meeting.

The Idaho Transportation Department is responsible for all highways on the State Highway System – interstates, state highways and U.S. routes. All other roads are under the jurisdiction of the local, city or county entity.


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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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