SAGLE – It’s only a matter of time before work begins on a construction project to make Lakeshore Drive and the US 95 intersection safer.
The project, which is still under design, is among the projects for which funding is provided under Bill 362, which was enacted Monday by Gov. Brad Little.
The new law provides ongoing funding of $ 80 million for transportation infrastructure projects statewide, allowing the state to back up to $ 1.6 billion. Little said it was the state’s largest investment in transportation infrastructure in state history.
Instead of increasing fees or taxes, funding results from redirecting more of the existing sales tax to funds that support transportation projects.
To help advance bid-ready transportation projects across Idaho, Little and the Idaho legislature also committed $ 126 million in one-time funds this year from the state’s record budget surplus. as part of Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” plan.
“Idaho is the fastest growing state in the country. To meet the demands of a rapidly growing state, our sustainable transportation finance solution saves Idaho residents time, protects us on our roads and makes our state’s economy even stronger, ”said Little said. “One of the most fundamental responsibilities of government is to provide a transportation system that facilitates commerce and ensures the safety of citizens. I appreciate my partners in the Idaho Legislature and business for recognizing the need to strategically and sustainably invest in transportation.
The work is expected to go out to tender this summer, and construction of the first phase will take place in late summer or early fall.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” Senator Jim Woodward, R-Sagle, said of the project on the funding list. “It was pretty clear to everyone how important this project is.”
The plan, first suggested by officials at Bonner County Road & Bridge, calls for a combination of acceleration lanes and U-turns. Motorists from Lakeshore would be routed south, but would be able to reverse safely and in a relatively short time via U-turns.
Construction is expected to take place over a two-year period, starting this summer. The first phase, which is under design, could include north and south direction acceleration lanes. The second phase, scheduled for summer 2022, would include U-turns at Lakeshore Drive and Bottle Bay Road, similar to those already in use at Ponderay.
The second phase of the project also includes a light at Sagle Road, which has been called the “only seven-lane highway” in northern Idaho, with two turn lanes, four lanes of traffic and a center lane.
A fire will create cuts in traffic, which should also improve the flow of traffic in the area. It should also improve safety with truck traffic, giving the larger platforms a chance to safely access the freeway, especially those heading north, Woodward said.
“I think improving safety is number one on the list,” he said. “It will also allow traffic to flow more freely.”
Safety improvements at the intersection have been a constant refrain from community leaders and local officials for years.
At present, motorists are struggling to find a break in the flow of southbound traffic exiting the Long Bridge at highway speed. It is sometimes known that impatient drivers rush into the intersection despite an almost constant flow of traffic, resulting in many accidents.
Caroline Lobsinger can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @CarolDailyBee.