Officials from the City of Pocatello and Idaho State University joined together Tuesday to cut the ribbon on improvements to Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
The ceremonial opening featured remarks from Mayor Brian Blad, ISU President Arthur Vailas, City of Pocatello Science and Environment Division Manager Hannah Sanger, and Charles Wheatley.
“The improvements that have been made on this section of road will improve the commute of not only students, faculty, and staff at Idaho State but also thousands of residents who live near the university and all of Pocatello,” said Mayor Brian Blad.
The project saw a little over 1,000 feet of road reconstructed and includes widened sidewalks, bike lanes in both directions, a bus turnout, and landscaping between the road and sidewalk.
“The biggest thing people will notice is how the new features will serve to calm both vehicle and pedestrian traffic,” said Merril Quayle, Public Works/Development Engineer for the City of Pocatello.
“The landscaping will be both functional and beautiful,” adds Hannah Sanger, Science and Environment Division Manager. “The swales will serve to treat stormwater before it enters our system, helping to keep pollutants out of the Portneuf River.”
This spring, crews from ISU will complete the landscaping.
While the road was under construction, officials also coordinated work on several other projects including reconstruction of the steam tunnel and utility corridor at 9th Avenue, the sidewalk in front of the ISU College of Technology Building, and changing the configuration of 9th Avenue from MLK Jr. Way to Lovejoy.
Total cost on the project is roughly $750,000 with the City of Pocatello paying about $100,000, ISU contributing $20,000, and the Wheatley family paying for the landscaping and beautification. The project was also funded by a grant administered by the Idaho Department of Transportation.