Bridge, child pedestrian crossings projects move forward
Governor Brad Little
| July 24, 2022 1:00 AM
Work on several area bridges and child pedestrian paths could be funded as part of Gov. Brad Little's "Leading Idaho" plan.
Improvements to local bridges and child pedestrian paths across Idaho were announced after the state approved prioritization for two parts of the plan this past week. The Local Highway Technical Assistance Council and the Idaho Transportation Board approved the rankings this week for Leading Idaho local bridge funding as well as child pedestrian crossing funding.
“The local bridge and child pedestrian crossing investments help us keep up with growth and improve the economy and Idahoans’ safety and quality of life. They also potentially could keep your property taxes low. As local governments develop their budgets this summer and fall, they may not have to call on local property taxpayers to fill these important needs because state support helps offset the burden,” Governor Little said.
Governor Little and the Legislature approved up to $200 million in surplus FY22 funds for the Leading Idaho local bridge program. It was part of a historic transportation investment package that did not require any increase in taxes or fees. The funds will be used to clear approximately one-third of the backlog of local bridges that are in poor condition or are load restricted.
The state’s goal is to have all projects awarded with this funding complete or in construction within the next three years, with construction on some bridges starting this year.
The bridge improvements target important crossings used to access farmland, natural resources, or recreational areas – often with no reasonable alternative route or detour. At the beginning of the year, 428 local bridges were identified as being in poor condition or posted for load restrictions. The LHTAC anticipates more structures to reach this condition in the coming years. Nearly 40-percent of local Idaho bridges are more than 50 years old, the designed life span for most bridges.
LHTAC anticipates that available funding will cover the top 130 to 140 ranked bridges. Among bridges in Bonner County that could be funded are ones in the Grouse Creek, Colburn Culver, Rapid lighting and Pack River areas. The bridges are rated at 18, 99, 101 and 111 on the list. A fifth bridge on E. Shore Road near Hunt Creek is rated at 142.
In addition, LHTAC and Idaho Transportation Board approved rankings for projects that improve pedestrian crossings used by children, such as school crossings or safe routes to schools. The Idaho Legislature approved an additional $10 million in one-time surplus FY22 funds for the crossings as part of the Governor’s Leading Idaho plan.
The funding will support 45 projects across the state. Most will receive the full amount available ($250,000 per application).
Among projects in Bonner County are shoulder widening of the roadway in the city of Kootenai at $250,000, a pedestrian bridge repair in the city Ponderay at $50,000, and refurbishing crossings in the city of Oldtown at $93,792. Also on the list are sidewalks, ramps and lighting for the city of Sandpoint at $250,000.
The projects are listed at first, ninth, tenth and No. 17.