It's no secret the City of Boise has big plans for the western portion of downtown Boise. Today officials broke ground on a new street for what's known colloquially known as Boise's West End to mark the first tentpole in an effort to revitalize the area.
Officials including Boise Mayor Dave Bieter met near Idaho River Sports this morning to symbolically turn the first shovelfuls of dirt.
"This is a milestone day," said Bieter. "This is the culmination of so much work by so many for so long. What this will do to this area will make us all proud."
Dubbed "Whitewater Park Boulevard," plans call for four travel lanes, including bike lanes, detached sidewalks, central median strips and a roundabout at Stewart Avenue, which will become the entrance to the forthcoming Esther Simplot park on the Boise River. According to Sara Baker, president of the Ada County Highway District commission, it's the realization of a North-South route 45 years in the making.
"Rarely do we get an opportunity to get build a brand new road in the middle of town," she said. "This gives us the opportunity to get it right up front."
According to a project update from the ACHD website, the contract to build the road was awarded to Boise company Alta Construction, with a price tag estimated at $4.5 million. Work is scheduled to begin Friday, Feb. 1, with a completion date nine months later.
As early as October, Boise will have a new road to deliver drivers to the downtown core and relieve traffic on 27th Street, which runs through the middle of the western neighborhood.
In his remarks, Bieter called city council member Elaine Clegg the "conscience of good development," and according to her, the project will help "weave the neighborhood back together."
"27th street right now is what traffic engineers know of as the most dangerous facility design," said Clegg. "It's four lanes, no center lane, sidewalks are attached and right next to the road.
Once the 30th Street extension is complete, more traffic will move down Whitewater Park Boulevard, freeing up 27th Street to be re-striped to a two-lane road, with a center turn lane and bike lanes, slated to begin next year.
More information, including road closures during the construction period, can be found via the ACHD website.