The first project under Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's Connecting Idaho plan to improve the state's highways was advertised for construction bids on Monday (May 15).
A contract to improve U.S. 30 from Topaz to Lava Hot Springs in southeast Idaho was advertised in the Idaho State Journal. Topaz to Lava Hot Springs is the first of several projects to widen U.S. 30 between McCammon and Soda Springs.
This project will widen a three-mile segment west of Lava Hot Springs to four lanes with a center turn lane where needed. The project also will enhance a wetland area near Price Road, south of McCammon.
The Idaho Legislature passed the Connecting Idaho plan
in April. It provides funding to make Idaho's highways safer and more
efficient for people and commerce. The legislation authorized the sale
of $200 million in Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds
for the first year of Connecting Idaho. The bond program leverages future
federal highway funds to expedite construction projects.
The highway is an important commercial and economic connection for southeast Idaho. Approximately 35 percent of the vehicles on U.S. 30 are commercial trucks, which is a significantly high proportion. U.S. 30 connects Idaho with Wyoming and links the area to Interstate 15.
Awarding of the contract is expected in July. Construction is expected to begin this summer and be completed in the fall of 2008. Because of winter weather, work on the project will stop in the late fall and resume in the spring every year. Estimated cost of the project is $20-$25 million.
U.S. 30 will remain open and accessible during construction. Occasional lane reductions will be required during construction, and flaggers will be used to control traffic as necessary.