Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter joined local residents, business and government leaders today to formally launch two highway construction projects that will create jobs, improve safety and reduce congestion in eastern Idaho.
More than 300 people, including legislators, city and county officials, business leaders and citizens participated in groundbreaking ceremonies at Rigby High School and in Chubbuck.
The Rigby ceremony marked the start of construction to widen Idaho 48 to three lanes with a right-turn bay added to the high school entrance. The project includes a bike lane on both sides of the street and the installation of curbs, gutters and sidewalks along the busy route in Rigby. The $2.93 million project is estimated to create or sustain approximately 54 jobs. Construction is scheduled to start in July, and finish in late October.
The ceremony in Chubbuck marked the start of construction of auxiliary lanes on Yellowstone Avenue (U.S. 91) from Lou Avenue to the Interstate 86/Chubbuck Interchange, east to I-15 and south to the Pocatello Creek Interchange.
The additional 3.4 miles of new highway will enable local travelers to move more quickly and efficiently throughout the Pocatello metropolitan area. The $8.1 million project is estimated to create or sustain approximately 145 jobs. Construction begins this summer and continues into mid 2011.
"The projects we begin today in eastern Idaho are a perfect fit for federal stimulus funds. They will create jobs and help energize our economy while addressing some long-overdue road improvements that will make motorists safer and make doing business here more attractive," Governor Otter said. "What we begin today is a success story, by any measure."
"This is a day that most of us have been waiting for a long, long time," acknowledged state Sen. Diane Bilyeu. "Today, your patience and persistence are rewarded. Today, we move those plans from the back burner to the front burner. Today, we begin a new chapter for transportation in the Chubbuck/Pocatello region."
"On behalf of the cities of Pocatello and Chubbuck, I want to thank Governor Otter and the work of his staff and the Idaho Transportation Department for moving this project from the drawing board to construction," said Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase.
The widening of Idaho 48 in our community will improve safety for Rigby High School students and motorists, Rigby Mayor Keith Smith said. In addition, the turning lane will reduce congestion.