A groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the beginning of the first Connecting Idaho project – U.S. 30 Topaz to Lava Hot Springs – will be Friday (Aug. 18).
Gov. Jim Risch, Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Frank Bruneel and District 5 transportation board member Neil Miller are among the officials scheduled to participate in the ceremony southeast of Pocatello.
The groundbreaking, which is open to the public, will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of U.S. 30 and Maughan Road.
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 appropriate. The project also will enhance a Portneuf River wetland area near Price Road, south of McCammon.
U.S. 30 will remain open and accessible during construction. Occasional lane reductions in the area will be required, and flaggers will be used when necessary to control traffic.
Construction will take about two seasons to complete. Because of winter conditions, work will be suspended in the late fall and resume the following spring. The Portneuf River Bridge may be widened in the winter, depending on the contractor’s schedule.
The entire project is expected to be complete in summer 2008.
U.S. 30 is a two-lane highway with few opportunities for passing. Widening the highway will make it safer for the large number of commercial trucks and passenger vehicles that use it daily.
Topaz to Lava Hot Springs is the first Connecting Idaho project to be constructed. The program uses a unique funding method – Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds – to expedite projects in key transportation corridors throughout the state.
Western Construction Inc. of Boise is the contractor on this $18.3 million project.
To reach the groundbreaking site, take I-15 to McCammon, use Exit 47 to U.S. 30 and turn east toward Lava Hot Springs. The location is about eight miles from the interstate exit. Parking will be available on the south side of U.S. 30. Watch for signs.
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Illustrations: A Portneuf River wetlands improvement project could be incorporated into the U.S. 30 highway project.