Interstate Concrete and Asphalt of Coeur d'Alene is the apparent low bidder on a project that will eliminate a two-lane, two-mile bottleneck on U.S. 95 north of Hayden. Bids were opened Thursday in Boise.
The project will widen a two-lane section of U.S. 95, between Wyoming Avenue and the Idaho 53 junction, to connect with four-lane segments on both ends. Widening will create more than 15 miles of four-lane highway from Coeur d'Alene to north of Garwood. A traffic signal at Lancaster Avenue also will be constructed, improving safety at the intersection.
The project is funded with savings from federal highway stimulus projects bid earlier this year. Construction will begin in the spring 2010 and be completed in the fall.
"Designating some of the savings from stimulus projects to this heavily traveled segment of U.S. 95 makes good sense, both in terms of job creation and transportation efficiency," said Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter. "Funneling traffic from four lanes to two lanes in this short section creates a real safety risk that needs to be eliminated."
State Rep. Frank Henderson, one of the Idaho Legislature's key proponents of the project, said he was pleased with the bid opening.
"This project is a very important investment in public safety," he said, "I'm pleased the Governor helped expedite the award of stimulus money so this project could begin next summer."
The segment of U.S. 95 is the first of seven additional shovel-ready highway projects that were approved by the Idaho Transportation Board at its August meeting using stimulus savings. More than $50 million in bid savings were realized on the first eight highway stimulus projects, which were advertised earlier this year.
They are part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 approved by Congress early this year to stimulate the economy through infrastructure investments and job creation/preservation.
The two-mile long project includes significant safety improvements to U.S. 95, according to transportation board member Jim Coleman, who represents Idaho's five northern counties.
"With the help of Governor Otter and Representative Henderson and other local legislators, this project has become a reality," Coleman said. "The project is also a great economic stimulus for northern Idaho in these difficult times. In addition, the positive effect on traffic, safety and the economy will be broad and long lasting."
The project is estimated to create or sustain 108 jobs.
Eight contractors bid on the project that was initially estimated to cost almost $16 million. The low bid by Interstate Concrete and Asphalt was $5.9 million. Competition among bidders and stable prices for construction materials are credited for the low bids.
The District 1 Design and Right of Way sections put a bid package together for advertising in less than three months,” explained to District Engineer Damon Allen.“Staff did an incredible job in a very short time, Allen said.
“Although this is typical for the great people in this district, I’m proud of how well they pull together and work as a team.”