ITD System Interchange Construction Accelerates

POCATELLO – With the arrival of spring the Idaho Transportation Department is ramping-up construction at the System Interchange in Pocatello. As part of Governor Little’s “Leading Idaho” initiative, the System Interchange is being redesigned to replace aging bridges built in the 1960s and improve traffic safety.

While work at the interchange continued throughout the winter, in the coming week ITD’s contractor will be placing girders for the new I-15 northbound bridge. This will necessitate rolling slowdowns, delays, and short detours around the I-86 to I-15 ramp leading from Chubbuck toward Blackfoot.

Additionally, as work progresses into the first week of April the Chubbuck Road bridge will be demolished. This will be done in stages with traffic detoured through Chubbuck at night. The first closure will be for northbound traffic and the second for southbound I-15 traffic.

Other projects will also see ramped-up operations including the Fort Hall Interchange and bridge work on I-86. With unprecedented funding made available for construction, Idaho motorists will continue to see increased activity on Idaho’s highways.

To protect Idaho’s workers and other motorists, ITD asks those travelling on Idaho’s highways to follow work zone speed limits, be patient, and plan for extra time to travel to their destinations.

To learn more about the final design of the System Interchange citizens can watch this video

American Falls drop-in meeting scheduled March 7 for Intersection of Pocatello Avenue and SH-39


AMERICAN FALLS – The Idaho Transportation Department will host an informal drop-in meeting for the planned improvement of the Intersection of Pocatello Avenue and SH-39. Project staff will be on hand to answer questions on March 7 from 4:30-6:30 at the American Falls District Library, 308 Roosevelt Street.

ITD is planning to improve safety, traffic flow, and mobility at the intersection with a Continuous Green T design. The Green T will allow continuous movements everywhere except at the stop sign in the northbound lane of Pocatello Avenue.

While ITD initially considered a roundabout at the intersection, further review and community input resulted in a design change to a Green T which lessens the turning movements for most of the trucking traffic on SH-39. The design also makes it easier for large farm equipment to navigate the intersection.

The federally funded $3.25 million project is planned for 2025. During construction some lane closures will occur.

Crews beginning I-15 Blackfoot bridge repair after overnight road breakup

I-15 road surface breakup

POCATELLO – Idaho Transportaion Department crews are currently working on the northbound bridge of I-15 just north of Blackfoot to repair the road surface following damage that occurred last night. The cause of the problem is still under investigation, but road breakup is common following cycles of warm and cold weather.

Traffic is down to one lane as crews begin repairs on the right lane. Tomorrow traffic will also be down to one lane to allow crews to perform preventative maintenance on the passing lane to ensure the problem does not spread.

Motorists should slow down as they approach the work zone and plan for some delays.

Longtime public servant Dwight Horsch steps away from Idaho Transportation Board

Dwight Horsch, who came to the Idaho Transportation Board in June 2011 and continued his service to the public for more than a decade, attended his final meeting as District 5’s representative to the board on Dec. 15, 2022.

Pictured above, from left to right: Chief Deputy/Chief Operations Officer Dan McElhinney, D4 District Engineer Jesse Barrus, D3 District Engineer Caleb Lakey, D5 District Engineer Todd Hubbard, Horsch, ITD Director Scott Stokes, and State Highway Engineer Blake Rindlisbacher celebrate Dwight’s 12 years of service on the Idaho Transportation Board.

“I want to sincerely thank Dwight for his years of dedicated service to the citizens of Idaho,” said Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Bill Moad. “It has been a privilege to work with him — his service, especially to those in southeastern Idaho where he has been representative this past decade, has been exemplary.”

Horsch helped mentor Moad when he first became chairman of the transportation board several years ago. “He reminded me that the small rural communities are equally as important as the metropolitan areas. The key is balancing the needs of the entire state to best serve all the citizens.”

When Horsch was appointed to the board (succeeding Neil Miller) in June 2011 by former Gov. Otter and confirmed by the Senate, his background included three terms in the House and a term in the Senate in his career with the Idaho Legislature. When those eight years finished, he returned to eastern Idaho and to farming.

As a lifelong farmer, Horsch understands the vital role transportation plays in Idaho’s economy. Without a good highway system, moving agricultural products to market would be severely impacted. Beyond the farm-to-market dynamic, transportation plays such a central role in everyday life that it is difficult to overestimate its importance. Whether its going to the store, to school, to work, or to recreate, roads and bridges are integral to the entire process. The transportation system is multi-modal as well, with freight and aviation interests also serving as part of the conversation.

Horsch is a veteran of the Idaho Air National Guard, attended the University of Idaho and later earned his degree in agribusiness from Kansas State University.

Horsch looks fondly on his dozen years on the board:


  • I was fortunate to work with board members and ITD staff who are some of the brightest, most dedicated, energetic, creative minds in our state and in the nation.
  • When I first got on the board, the credibility level of the department was quite low with the Governor, legislature and the public in general. In my two terms, I witnessed a great reversal of that situation.
  • Due to this positive change, ITD received some terrific support and funding. Now some projects are being designed, bid and built that were pipe dreams 12 years ago.


  • When I was appointed by Governor Otter, he asked me to do what I could, working with fellow board members and leadership staff, to change the department’s image.  Whatever part I played in that effort, it was wonderful to see it happen.
  • I honestly felt, during my legislative career and as an Idaho Transportation Board member, that one of the most conservative actions we could do was to build and maintain a very good transportation infrastructure. With the support of the legislature and both governors Otter and Little, that’s what’s happening. Not all of my wishes for the system are complete, but a great start is underway.
  • It was a great pleasure, as chairman of the subcommittee, to see the establishment of 129,000-pound truckload routes throughout Idaho.  It took time and a great deal of input from road industry representatives, but we got it done, to the benefit of all.

To My Replacement

  • I am confident that my replacement will quickly realize they can trust the wisdom of fellow board members and staff leadership.
  • Take time to learn all the systems before diving in too deep. There is so much to learn.  Orientation is helpful, but the entire department makeup is so all-encompassing that it takes time to let it all soak in.  Even in my last year, I found myself having to rely upon others to help me understand the complexities and attain faith in some issues.

And Now For Some Fun

  • Kathy and I have rented out most of our farmland. I have retained some to keep my hand in the profession I have loved and to stay active. We are already making plans for traveling, camping and fishing. Our daughters, Holly and Tiffany, became the competent adults they are in part from growing up as farm kids, but they have found their own paths away from agriculture. My wife and I are confident that our tenants will continue to farm the land with the skill and devotion we have for the last half-century. Horsch Farms will live on. (Note: the farm is going into its 114th year, having started in 1909 by Dwight’s grandfather when he came from Germany and settled near Aberdeen, Idaho.)

What I Will Miss

  • I will fondly remember the great people I have been fortunate to meet and interact with during my tenure. Their intelligence, dedication and camaraderie will stay with me always.  They have become some of my closest friends, and I will miss being with them on a regular basis. I count my time on the board as one of the blessings of my life.

ITD crews fixing potholes in East Idaho

EAST IDAHO – The Idaho Transportation Department is working to address potholes created by rapidly changing temperatures this winter. Recent snows followed by warm temperatures allows water to enter through cracks in asphalt. When that water freezes at night it can result in potholes forming on the surface of Idaho’s highways and freeways.

While winter maintenance typically focuses on keeping roads clear of snow, crews are also repairing potholes on I-15, within the city of Idaho Falls, as well as in other areas of the region.

D5 operations engineer Greydon Wright says, “The biggest area that we have been fighting them are on I-15 between Exit 93 (Blackfoot) and the Blackfoot Rest Areas.”

Similarly, D6 operations engineer Bryan Young reports they have been hard at work as well, “This week we have received numerous comments about the potholes in Idaho Falls. The Idaho Falls Maintenance Shed has successfully repaired the major potholes and will continue to repair the roadways as more potholes appear.” However, Young points out that repairs are weather dependent. So, drivers must still pay attention to avoid hitting a rough piece of pavement.

Patching during the winter consists of using a “cold patch” that is intended to be a temporary solution. Crews will return in the summer to perform more permanent repairs as needed. In addition, ITD has several projects scheduled this year to address older pavement throughout the region.

Eight snowplows hit this season; ITD calls on drivers to be more cautious

Side-by-side images of a disabled plow on the side of the road.

So far this season across Idaho, drivers have caused eight crashes with snowplows. As more winter weather moves across the state, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) wants to remind drivers how to be safe around snowplows.

1. Never pass a plow on the right. Plows have a smaller wing plow that extends from the right side of the vehicle, which can be hard to see when the snow is flying. Drivers passing on the right and hitting the wing plow is the most common plow-related crash.
2. Give plows room to work and avoid their blind spots.
3. Be patient. The safest place to be is behind the plow.
4. Plows often work in tandem to clear multiple lanes. Never get in between the tandem plows.
5. If you are involved in a crash or stopped on the side of the road for any reason, please remain in your vehicle for your safety and for the safety of our plow operators.

The seventh and eighth crashes happened today in North Idaho, and both involved tandem plows. This morning on Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, a driver got between two plows as they merged onto the highway. The driver then hit the brakes, forcing the second plow off the road to avoid a collision. Then around lunchtime on U.S. Highway 95 south of Athol, a driver passed the first plow on the left and then struck the second while trying to pass on the right.

Both plows are now out of service for the current storm.

“This issue affects everyone, not just the people involved in the crash. Every plow that is hit causes a domino effect making conditions worse,” said Operations Foreman  Shannon Thornton. “There are fewer plows on the road to deal with the snow that is still falling, and our crews have to spend precious time recovering equipment instead of plowing.”

Last winter, there were 11 plow strikes, an increase from years past and a number that ITD does not want to repeat. Please be careful driving and mindful of our plows. Check or the Idaho 511 App for road conditions before traveling. For more winter driving tips, visit

*For real-time updates on plow strikes, visit ITD’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

Drivers need to be careful in upcoming storm

Weather map showing weather warnings throughout East IdahoRIGBY – With a severe winter storm predicted by the National Weather Service (, the Idaho Transportation Department in East Idaho reminds drivers to take precautions in case roads close or motorists become stranded. Extreme cold temperatures, snow, and wind can make for a dangerous combination.

“We do everything we can to keep roads open,” said Bryan Young, D6 Operations Engineer. “However, we also have to consider the safety of the traveling public and our crews.”

ITD asks the public to think ahead and determine whether a trip can be delayed or avoided during winter storms. Check or the 511 app to learn if roads are closed and to view conditions. If you are driving, be careful to leave extra distance between vehicles, never pass a snowplow on the right, and pay close attention to changing conditions.

Other safety tips include:Image of 511 web site showing cameras and road conditions

  • Keep survival supplies in your vehicle: blankets, flashlight, water, and food.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank before leaving.
  • Be sure your car is well-maintained with fluids at proper levels, tires properly inflated, wipers, brakes, and battery are all in good condition.
  • Dress appropriately for cold weather: heavy coat, boots, gloves, and have extra socks.
  • Prepare to self-rescue if your vehicle is stuck by having: a shovel, kitty litter, tire chains.
  • Inform others of when you are leaving, what route you are taking, and what time you expect to arrive.
  • Ensure your cell phone is charged before leaving.
  • If your vehicle becomes stuck, check to be sure the tail pipe is clear so exhaust fumes do not build up in the cabin.
  • Crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide build-up and only run your vehicle for 10 minutes per hour to keep the cabin warm.

The Dos and Don’ts of driving near snow plows

Plow clearing SH-6 near White Pine Campground

Snow has already fallen in the state, so drivers should get ready to drive with plows this winter. Talking about sharing the road with plows is really more of a discussion on what you shouldn’t do.

What shouldn’t you do?

Don’t pass. The road behind a plow is always better than the road in front of a plow. And all the snow, rock and other debris comes out of a plow at a high rate of speed––if you pass and try to drive through all that, the weight of the snow could force your vehicle off the road or break windows.

Of course, that’s assuming you don’t run into the plow while attempting to pass it.

Plows trucks weigh up to 58,000 pounds and sport not one, but two, plows. Everyone is familiar with the plow on the front, which is 12 feet long and takes up a whole lane. People tend to forget about the second, smaller plow positioned on the right side of the truck. It’s called a wing plow.

That’s the one folks run into. When plows are pushing snow, it comes up over the top of the plow and obscures all the lighting and flags. Again, plows weigh up to 14 times the average vehicle, so running into them is going to have an impact.

While not illegal to pass a plow, it’s recommended you never do so on the right side because of the wing plow. Law enforcement can and will cite drivers who act recklessly or carelessly and pass when it isn’t safe.

Operators will often work in pairs, especially on multi-lane roadways like freeways, to get snow pulled from the far left side all the way to the shoulder. Don’t try to pass several plows at once or drive between them.

Plows are large vehicles with blind spots, even when not working in blizzard conditions or pushing snow. Stay out of their blind spots.

If you’re going to pass, it’s important to consider where the snow is going. Our drivers typically push snow to the right, but in some cases, they will push snow into the median.

Sometimes there isn’t room to push snow into the median, or there aren’t enough operators available to tandem plow. You may see a plow working by itself on a freeway, pushing snow into the fast lane on the first lap and then moving it all the way off the roadway on a second pass. There may be enough room to pass safely on the right – but first slow down and observe where the snow coming out of the plow lands on the road before you make your decision.

When in doubt, don’t pass.

What should you do?

  • Drive for conditions. The posted speed limit is set based on ideal conditions, so in winter you’ll have to slow down. It’s on the driver to determine a safe speed.
  • Maintain at least a three-second following distance. On slick roads, you’ll need more time to react and stop if necessary.
  • Move over. Any time emergency vehicles—which include tow trucks—are flashing their lights, you are legally required to slow down and move over into another lane if possible.
  • Leave early. Giving yourself extra time will make it that much easier to make smart decisions.
  • Download 511. No need to guess what your route looks like – download the 511 app or visit to see road conditions and if there are any reported crashes.

As you head out on the road this winter, keep these safety tips in mind so that you and our plow drivers can make it home safely.

Pile driving to begin Thursday at Pocatello

Road Work Ahead sign

Blue and white circular logo for "Leading Idaho" projects sponsored by Governor Little

POCATELLO – Beginning Thursday morning work crews at the System Interchange will begin pile driving piers for new bridges. As part of Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative, the project was fast-tracked partly due to the aging 1960s bridges due for replacement. The new piers will create a stable foundation to protect the structure of the new bridges.

Pile driving uses a hydraulic hammer that forces piers downward through the soil. Unavoidably, the operation creates noise as the hammer falls on the pier. Work for this portion of the project will be conducted during the daytime. However, in the next week or two additional pile driving will be required at Chubbuck Road that will include some nighttime work.

Motorists should carefully follow signs and posted speed limits while travelling through the construction area. With crews working day and night and with the onset of winter it is especially important that drivers be alert and proceed safely through the work area. Drivers are encouraged to check or the 511 app to keep track of road conditions and construction. Project details are available on ITD’s projects website —

Citizens who wish to receive updates via email can subscribe at this link:

This project is partially funded with Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds as part of Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative. The program allows ITD to accelerate project timelines to address rapid growth and build critical infrastructure today that would otherwise take many years to fund and build.

Construction crew driving piles with heavy equipment
Pile driving utilizes a hydraulic hammer to place the piles deep below the surface of the ground.

System Interchange Construction in Full Swing

Leading Idaho - TECM Program

POCATELLO – The Idaho Transportation Department’s rebuild of the System Interchange for I-86 and I-15 at Pocatello is in full swing with crews working multiple areas throughout the worksite. As part of Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative, the project is quickly changing how the heart of the Interstate in Pocatello appears.

The lowering of the ramp for westbound traffic from northbound I-15 to I-86 is now complete and work on building the new bridges is beginning. Temporary barriers are in place at multiple locations and motorists will also notice changes in lane striping as traffic is shifted away from work areas.

View of construction site at System Interchange looking south with large crane in center
Cranes are being placed to begin drilling shafts for bridge piers.

One safety innovation being implemented is the use of a conveyor belt system to move earth fill from one area of the project to another. The conveyor allows crews to move material without using trucks entering and exiting the Interstate. That makes for a safer work zone for drivers and work crews. It is important that public keep clear of the conveyor system for their own safety.

In the coming weeks cranes will appear on the project and begin drilling shafts for new bridge piers. Excavators and other earthmoving equipment are also working in multiple areas to reprofile the land. Throughout the work zone water trucks are being utilized to keep dust down. Inspectors and engineers are also on-site daily ensuring safety and compliance with designs.

Near the end of the month or early next month pile driving will begin in the northern portion of the work area. There will be some associated noise during this portion of the operation.

Speed limits in the work area are now set at 55mph and should always be carefully observed, day and night. Crews are working long hours including some night work. Drivers should also know that lane configurations are changing and should be prepared to adjust to the difference by watching for signs and following pavement markings.

It is especially important with such a large project that motorists plan for extra time and to be patient with other drivers by allowing them to merge and change lanes as needed. Sharing the road and watching for workers and construction vehicles entering the Interstate is essential to keeping everyone safe.

The historic rebuild of the I-86/I-15 System Interchange was the outgrowth of a need to replace aging bridges and improve safety. The bridges, built in the 1960s, are currently safe but needed to be replaced due to their age. Failure to do so would result in a need to place restrictive load limits which would hinder commerce.

Water truck spraying dusty ground to control dust
Water trucks are working tirelessly to keep dust from construction to a minimum.

ITD also noted an increase in aggressive lane changes and congestion within the interchange, particularly just north of the Pocatello Creek exit. The rapid motion of entering I-15 at Pocatello Creek and crossing to the passing lane to exit toward Chubbuck did not exist when the interchange was built. However, with population growth and associated development that traffic is now significant. Such “exit left” and “enter left” movements do not meet driver expectations, cause confusion, and results in frustration for drivers.

Another much-needed improvement was a redesign of the Chubbuck Road crossing. The old 1962 bridge is narrow and has limited capacity for pedestrians and bicyclists. With the growth of Pocatello and the addition of the Portneuf Wellness Complex a significant change was needed. ITD’s new design changes Chubbuck Road from being an overpass over I-15 to an underpass beneath the freeway with dedicated bike lanes and wider sidewalks. Removal of the bridge also creates more space for the larger project to handle increased traffic.

Once completed, the new System Interchange will be safer and ready to carry the increased traffic volumes for the fastest growing state in America.

This video describes how the new interchange will work and improve mobility and safety for the public – 

Project details and updates are available here on ITD’s projects website

This project is partially funded with Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds as part of Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative. The program allows ITD to accelerate project timelines to address rapid growth and build critical infrastructure today that would otherwise take many years to fund and build.

View of earthmoving equipment looking south near Pocatello Creek Exit
Earthmoving equipment is working throughout the System Interchange project site


View of concrete rail on Chubbuck Road showing the date 1962
The age of the 1960s era bridges necessitated their replacement.