The Idaho Transportation Board voted last week to use $14.4 million in additional federal funding to finance four statewide highway improvement projects.
The additional funds come from a redistribution of federal highway monies not used by other states. Idaho is expected to receive $14.4 million, a record amount. Since the inception of the federal highway program in the 1950s, Idaho has invested all of its annual federal funds.
Projects funded under redistribution include the:
The transportation board committed to Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman that the Sunnyside project would be a top priority if additional funding became available. The city was scheduled to receive federal urban funding in 2010 to widen approximately two miles of Sunnyside Road from Holmes Avenue to South Yellowstone from two lanes to five.
This section of road will be the last of Sunnyside Road between Ammon Avenue and Interstate 15 to be widened to five lanes. ITD will open the Sunnyside Interchange from I-15 to the Yellowstone Highway this fall. Transportation engineers were concerned about the impact that narrowing the highway from five lanes to two would have on traffic safety and congestion.
Mayor Fuhriman said city officials were excited to learn of the transportation board's decision.
"We appreciate the transportation board's commitment to the safety of our travelers and the progress of Idaho Falls," Fuhriman said.
The project will begin in the spring and should be completed by fall 2007. Idaho Falls will pay for construction costs above the $5.5 million allocated by the transportation board.
"The transportation board committed to funding the Sunnyside project if any additional money became available," Jack Combo,vice chairman of the board, said. "I'm pleased that we were able to help this important project move forward. " Combo is an Idaho Falls resident and has been a member of the board for 17 years.