The Idaho Transportation Board today picked 17 road and bridge projects to be funded from state general fund surplus money, under a “surplus eliminator” that lawmakers approved during their 2015 legislative session. The projects, which total $54 million, are spread across all six districts of the state, and range from replacing the Wolf Lodge interchange of I-90 and Idaho 97, a $5.4 million project that will allow larger trucks to travel on I-90 east of Coeur d’Alene; to an $11.8 million project to repair and improve pavement and upgrade guardrails on six miles of I-15 from the Burns Road Overpass to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, a project that will ensure the highway is structurally sound and can handle the weight of commercial vehicles.
“Projects selected today are another important step in improving our system by replacing and preserving our bridges, as well as our pavements, and keeping Idaho's economy and citizens moving,” said Jerry Whitehead, ITD board chairman. ITD Director Brian Ness said, “These funds will lead to immediate improvements in safety and increase mobility for drivers across Idaho. The projects also will enhance economic opportunity by getting more goods and services to market, along with increasing tourism and recreational opportunities.”
Other projects selected include upgrading eight bridges on U.S. 20 in District 6 in eastern Idaho near Idaho Falls; restoring deteriorated pavement on U.S. 30 from Soda Springs to the Bear Lake County line; restoring and upgrading 8.5 miles of pavement from Gooding to Stockpile Road in an area heavily used by dairy trucks; restoring pavement on 4.5 miles of U.S. 20/26, also known as Chinden Boulevard, in Garden City; safety improvements to the intersection of Idaho 55, Karcher Road and Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard in Canyon County; and an extended passing lane on U.S. 95 at Whitebird Hill near Grangeville. You can see the full list here.
The ITD board made its selections based on return on investment in three areas: Safety, mobility and economic opportunity. All project selected also had to be on the current five-year Idaho Transportation Investment Program plan, and recommended for selection by an ITD district engineer. These projects are on top of the 27 the board authorized last May, which were funded by new gas taxes and vehicle registration fees that lawmakers approved this year. Those road and bridge projects, which add up to more than $43 million in work, are spread over 2015 and 2016, and being completed over two years; you can see that full list here.