July 24, 2009 in Idaho

State finds money to close gap in new North Idaho freeway

By The Spokesman-Review
 

The big Garwood-to-Sagle freeway project on U.S. Highway 95 in North Idaho won’t have a two-lane bottleneck at its south end after all, the Idaho Transportation Board decided Thursday.

The board designated $15.8 million in economic stimulus funds toward expanding the stretch from Wyoming Avenue in Hayden to the Idaho 53 junction to four lanes; the money will come from savings after bids on other stimulus projects came in lower than expected.

The Dover Bridge replacement alone came in $15.2 million below estimates; a freeway interchange in Boise came in $21.2 million low.

The highway already is four lanes south of Wyoming Avenue. But plans for the new freeway left a two-mile gap; legislation to fix that this year got shot down in last-minute scuffling between the House and Senate.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said, “Funneling traffic from four lanes to two lanes in this short section creates a real safety risk that needs to be eliminated.”

He said, “Designating some of the savings from stimulus projects to this heavily traveled segment of U.S. 95 makes good sense.”


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email