Crews completed construction on a 1.7-mile stretch of Idaho 48 through the Rigby area Friday (Dec. 11). Earlier this fall, work was completed on U.S. 20 northbound passing lanes between Island Park Lodge and Red Rock Road and southbound passing lanes between Henry’s Fork Outlet Bridge and Idaho 87.
They are among 16 projects on state highways funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that Congress approved early this year to strengthen the economy through investments in the transportation system. Idaho received $182 million for those 16 projects.
Several of those projects were substantially completed this fall and need only minor work when the construction resumes next spring.
The Idaho 48 improvement project is estimated to have created or preserved 54 jobs while improving traffic safety and flow on the main east-west artery between Rigby High School and the Yellowstone Highway.
Crews will add finishing touches to the project in the spring, such as seeding/sodding shoulders, seal-coating the new roadway and painting yellow centerlines, white edge stripes and applying other pavement markings.
The contractor will round the southeast corner of the intersection of Idaho 48 (First South Street) and the U.S. 20 business loop (State Street) in Rigby so northbound trucks can more easily and safely turn east on Idaho 48 en route to potato warehouses and other businesses.
The reconstruction project consisted of widening the corridor to three lanes, adding a right-turn bay to the east (main) Rigby High School entrance and installing curbs, gutters, sidewalks and approaches between the high school and 3rd West in Rigby. The project also included resurfacing the highway from 3rd West to the Yellowstone Highway east of Rigby.
Jefferson County Joint School District 251 Superintendent Dr. Ron Tolman said, “Now that the project is complete, it is a joy to watch the smoother traffic transitions around the high school. The road seems much safer and easier for folks to negotiate. Thanks to ITD and the contractor for their work on this needed undertaking.”
Construction commenced Aug. 12, following a groundbreaking ceremony presided over by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.
HK Contractors of Idaho Falls was the contractor on this $2.9 million project.
Additional passing lanes on U.S. 20, the primary east-west route between Idaho Falls and the Montana state line, will improve traffic safety and flow along the busy section of highway that serves commercial trucks and recreational travel to West Yellowstone.
Gale Lim Construction of Blackfoot was the contractor on the $2.3 million project that created or sustained an estimated 41 jobs. Crews will return next spring to apply a seal coat to protect the surface of the passing lanes.