NAMPA — In the largest grant it has ever been rewarded, the Idaho Transportation Department received a $90.2 million Infrastructure For Rebuilding America grant to widen part of Interstate 84.
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter announced the grant at a public event Wednesday morning. The grant serves as 60 percent of the funding needed to expand 2.8 miles of I-84 from the Karcher Interchange to the Franklin Boulevard Interchange.
The highway, which narrows down to two lanes west of Franklin, will be widened to three lanes in each direction. The expansion officially begins this year, and the Nampa portion is expected to be complete in 2021.
INFRA grants are awarded by the U.S. Department of Transportation to fund highway and bridge improvements. In June, the Department of Transportation announced it was proposing almost $1.5 billion in INFRA grants to support 26 projects across the nation, including the I-84 expansion.
Otter said transportation has always been one of his concerns, especially now with Idaho being the fast-growing state in the country. Ada County Commissioner Dave Case also mentioned that Ada and Canyon counties are the two fastest-growing counties in Idaho.
Canyon County Commissioner Tom Dale said from 2011 to 2015, there were 169 injury or fatal accidents on the portion of I-84 that will be widened. He said the planned improvements have the potential to reduce the injury accidents along the corridor by 27 each year.
The construction along the 2.8-mile stretch of I-84 will begin with widening the shoulders of the road, said Amy Schroeder, GARVEE Program Manager for ITD. The shoulder widening is expected to begin in September or October, she said, and the next phase of the project will focus on the Karcher Overpass this winter, which is a small bridge near the Amalgamated Sugar Factory.
Widening I-84 through Nampa is expected to cost around $150 million in total. With the $90 million grant, Schroeder said the remaining funding comes from state and local sources. The INFRA grant allows ITD to devote some funding they had planned for the I-84 project to other endeavors.
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