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Funding for new north-south ‘freeway’ connecting with I-84 added, project set for next year

A new freeway-like road that will run north to south in the center of the Treasure Valley just took a big step forward.

The Idaho Transportation Department announced it would outlay $170 million to build the Central Valley (Highway 16) Expressway, connecting Interstate 84 to the current Highway 16, eventually running to Emmett.

Right now, Highway 16 ends at Chinden Blvd., but as BoiseDev was the first to report in 2018, the long-term plans would build out a north-south freeway of sorts. The project started with the portion of the road from State St. to Chinden Blvd., which crews completed in 2014.

The project would include a large Flying Wye-style interchange with I-84 and a large interchange at Ustick Rd. It would be largely free of traditional stoplights or other stops. Some roadways would not directly intersect with the new Highway 16, like Cherry Ln., which would pass under the new highway.

Some parts of the project would happen later and are listed as “vision.”

The new money means the project will start next year, according to ITD. A related project, to expand US 202/26 (Chinden Blvd.) to four lanes from Middleton Rd. to I-84 also got funding – a total of $37 million.

The money will come from the state’s Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation fund. Previous funding for right-of-way totaled $90 million.

‘Fastest growing state’

“Idaho is the fastest-growing state in the nation. To keep up with the demands of a fast-growing state, our historic transportation funding solution helps save Idahoans’ time, keeps us safe on our roads, and makes our state’s economy even stronger,” Governor Little said. “I appreciate the Idaho Transportation Board for acting quickly to put these new funds to work.”

During a 2019 conversation with BoiseDev, Little said he hoped the Central Valley project would help take pressure off Eagle Rd., and add capacity as population increases in the western portion of the Treasure Valley.

The Idaho Legislature added $80 million to the TECM fund during the most recent legislative session. A number of other projects statewide saw new funding through a mix of sources, including federal coronavirus relief funds.

ITD launched an online open house for the project today, running through June 4th.

Disclosure: ITD is a BoiseDev advertiser. It had no role in the placement or production of this story.

Don Day - BoiseDev editor
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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