Dignitaries install guard rail to mark end
of U.S. 30 project, begin Portneuf bridges phase
An industrial-strength combination wrench, a few bolts and little bit of muscle put the punctuation mark on the first phase of a highway project east of McCammon last week.
Transportation board members and local dignitaries bolted the last piece of guardrail on a new three-mile stretch of U.S. 30 to celebrate completion of the first phase of Idaho’s first GARVEE-bonded project. ITD reconstructed the segment of U.S. 30 and expanded it to a four-lane divided highway between McCammon and Lava Hot Springs.
The Thursday (Sept. 18) ceremony had dual purposes – it also marked the beginning of the U.S. 30 Portneuf River Bridges project, which is part of the corridor plan.
Board members included the event as part of their District 5 highway tour that followed a Wednesday business meeting in Pocatello.
“The GARVEE Transportation Program is the first of its kind in Idaho and is a major step in delivering much needed improvements to our highways,” said District 5 board member Neil Miller. “The economy of this state depends on an efficient and safe transportation system. The GARVEE Transportation Program provides an innovative way to fund and manage those needed improvements.”
The Topaz to Lava Hot Springs project is one of several major improvements to the corridor. It included:
Construction of an additional lane in both directions
Providing new opportunities for passing
Providing acceleration and deceleration lanes, and
Increasing the route’s vehicle capacity
“I want to emphasize the importance of this corridor to this region and to the state of Idaho,” Miller said. “U.S. 30 from McCammon to the Wyoming state line is an important commercial and economic route.” It is heavily used by commercial trucks carrying freight through Idaho.
Focusing on the immediate future, the ceremony also kicked off a new widening project for 1.9 miles of U.S. 30 and construction of two new bridges over the Portneuf River. They will replace existing culverts.
Coincidentally, the transportation board voted the day before to request an additional $125 million in bonding authority to continue major highway improvement projects in six corridors. The request will be forwarded to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Legislature for approval.