Blackfoot gets $612K in grants for projects, roads

BLACKFOOT — The city of Blackfoot will be able to complete two more road and safety improvement projects this year thanks to $612,485 in grant funds.

Treasurer Holly Powell said the city applied for the funding through Idaho’s Local Highway Technical Assistance Council. It was awarded $171,000 as part of a Children Pedestrian Safety Program and $441,485 as part of a Local Strategic Initiatives Program.

“This is a huge benefit to cities like Blackfoot that have a small tax base,” Powell said, adding that neither of the grants will require any kind of matching funds. “We can’t do projects like these without these types of funding.”

The Children Pedestrian Safety funding will go to safety improvements near Ridge Crest Elementary School.

Powell said the funding will allow the city to put in 575 linear feet of curb and gutter as well as a 5-foot wide sidewalk along the west side of Airport Road, between Harbor Drive and East Airport Road.

“The project will also include a crosswalk and pedestrian-activated warning beacon on the corner of Airport Road and East Airport Road,” she said.

Powell said that the city received federal funds through the Transportation Alternatives Program last year, which it is using to construct 1,660 linear feet of curb, gutter and sidewalk along Airport Road between Wooten Way and Harbor Drive. It also putting in ADA ramps and a flashing cross walk sign. So, the additional funding it received this year will allow it to work on the second phase of the project around the same time it is completing the first.

Powell said there aren’t any continuous sidewalks or crosswalks near the elementary school right now, and there have been problems with children walking along the road and darting into traffic on their way to and from school. The sidewalks and crosswalks will give children designated areas to walk and cross in and should help drivers to be able to see them better.

“It will be so much safer,” Powell said.

The Local Strategic Initiatives funding also will make is possible for the city to realign the intersection of Cromwell and Pendlebury lanes to improve traffic safety and flow in that area, Powell said. That work is important because Cromwell Lane will be used to access a new state veterans cemetery that will be constructed near State Hospital South.

Powell said Blackfoot officials aggressively seek grant funding, and the city has received $6.5 million over the last two years. It will be able to complete several projects — including those planned near Ridge Crest Elementary and Cromwell Lane — this year as a result.

“There will be lots and lots of construction this summer,” Powell said.