The narrow two-lane bridge on Northwest Boulevard crossing Interstate 90 could be transformed from a traffic bottleneck to one of the largest interchanges in the city in a few years.
The Idaho Transportation Department is considering spending $6.5 million on the interchange beginning as early as next summer.
An average of 24,000 motorists a day travel the area around the Northwest Boulevard bridge, nearby Seltice Way and Appleway. The number goes as high as 30,000 cars during the summer.
When Eagle Hardware opens on Appleway this winter, as many as 1,900 more cars a day are expected during peak hours.
To resolve the problem, the Transportation Department wants to replace the two-lane bridge with a seven-lane bridge and expand Appleway from four lanes to five. “A lot of them are turn only (lanes),” said Barbara Babic of the Transportation Department.
The state has wanted to replace the inadequate bridge for several years. During rush hour - between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. - traffic can back up for several blocks on Northwest Boulevard.
“It has been on the program for quite a while,” Babic said. But planning and monetary considerations have delayed construction.
“I know we are anxious to get this done,” she said.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: OPEN HOUSE The public can have a say in the proposed Northwest Boulevard interchange during an open house from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Idaho Department of Transportation district office in Coeur d’Alene.