With a contractor now on board, work is expected to take less than two years. The four-lane highway will be separated by concrete barrier, and the existing median, turn lanes, and acceleration lanes will be eliminated.
“The interchange will allow drivers to safely access the businesses in the plaza without any conflicts with drivers already on the highway traveling at 65 mph,” said Doral Hoff, District Engineer for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
The Nez Perce Tribe (NPT) and ITD had previously announced the joint project would be delayed due to increased costs of essential materials. To cover rising costs, the NPT and ITD applied for additional funding from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Department of Tribal Transportation Bridge Funding, which was approved in November 2022. The project will still make use of the original $19 million in FHWA FY2020 BUILD grant funding.
“The Nez Perce Tribe set Aht’Wy Interchange project as a priority for the past 18 years. Safety along this corridor has been the primary concern. It is exciting to see this project in [the] construction phase,” said Samuel N. Penney, Nez Perce Tribe Executive Committee Chairman.
A tentative groundbreaking event is scheduled for April 12.