Construction continues on I-15 at Inkom

The Idaho Transportation Department is continuing work on the Interstate roadway and bridges from the south Inkom interchange to the Portneuf interchange. Ongoing work includes guardrail repair, paving, and patching and repairing bridge decks. In addition, crews are patching pier caps, applying epoxy overlays, and waterproofing parapets on the Rapid Creek, South Inkom interchange, and Portneuf River bridges.

Work is anticipated to continue through the end of June with single lane crossovers. Drivers are reminded to slow down in work zones, allow other vehicles to merge, and drive defensively.

Replacement of the West Inkom interchange, Union Pacific Railroad, and Main Street bridges are still planned for next year.

ITD to host open house on US-30 (Gould Street) in Pocatello

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites the public to an open house on Tuesday to comment on proposed improvements to make U.S. Highway 30 safer and address growing traffic in Pocatello.

Improvements are planned for US-30 between the intersections of Yellowstone Avenue and Oak Street and the Gould Street overpass and Garrett Way.

The open house will be from 5-7 p.m. at the Pocatello Streets Department Office at 2405 Garrett Way.

In 2018, ITD completed a study to analyze safety issues, traffic, geometrics, and community needs. Extensive traffic analyses, stakeholder meetings, and steering committee meetings were conducted as part of the study. The results of the study identified significant corridor improvements. In 2023, design began on the improvements, which address:

  • Intersection operation and safety at Yellowstone Ave, McKinley Ave, and Garrett Way.
  • An additional turn lane from Gould Street onto Garrett Way to improve signal operations and mobility through the corridor.
  • Accesses safety
  • Corridor-wide pedestrian facilities
  • Stormwater collection
  • Corridor-wide landscaping

Construction is scheduled for 2027.

“This is an important project for the traveling public in Pocatello,” Project Manager Kevin Sonico said. “These improvements will address the growth in the area and improve safety by addressing lane utilization issues and capacity issues in the corridor. People can stop by any time on Tuesday to learn more about the project and ask questions.”

For those who cannot attend the public meeting on May 7, ITD will post meeting displays on the project website at itdprojects.idaho.gov/pages/us-30-yellowstone-to-garrett-way. Comments will be received until June 5 and can be submitted at the meeting, online or by emailing agumm@jub.com.

Nighttime detour planned for I-15/I-86 System Interchange this week

Beginning Wednesday evening and continuing through Friday morning, nighttime closures will be in place for a section of Interstate 15 and Interstate 86 at the System Interchange to allow crews to safely place girders for one of the new I-86 eastbound to I-15 northbound bridges.

The I-15 northbound to I-86 westbound ramp will be closed from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday nights. Drivers looking to head west on I-86 from I-15 will be detoured to the Northgate Interchange.

Ongoing construction at the System Interchange will improve safety and mobility while replacing bridges built in the 1960s. Work is expected to be complete in 2025.

Motorists should exercise caution while travelling through the construction zone. Those wishing to receive email updates about the System Interchange project can sign up at https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/g9MMkN9.

Drivers can also check or download the 511 app for the last traffic conditions on all state highways and freeways.

Nine ITD snowplows hit so far this winter season

Damaged rear of snowplow.

Winter weather has brought snowy driving conditions to much of Idaho. Unfortunately, the rise in snowy road conditions has also led to a sharp rise in snowplow strikes. Nine Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) plows have been hit so far this winter season. Five strikes happened over the last seven days.

Two of the most recent strikes happened this Wednesday in the Magic Valley, one on I-84 north of Twin Falls, and one on I-84 west of Wendell. Both involved a semi truck rear-ending a plow. The vehicles will be out of service for up to two weeks while they undergo repairs.

“It’s a major impact on maintenance sheds when equipment is taken out of service. We are limited on snowplows,” Jerome Foreman Brian Davidson said. “It makes it more difficult to keep roads clear.”

Another recent strike happened on Tuesday in Nampa. The plow was heading eastbound on I-84 near Karcher Road. A pickup pulling a trailer merged onto the interstate and lost control. The trailer swung out and hit the ITD vehicle’s wing plow. There was no lasting damage to the snowplow.

ITD wants to remind drivers how to be safe around snowplows.

  1. Do not pass a plow on the right. Plows have a 10-foot extendable wing plow on the right side that may be difficult to see in snowy conditions.
  2. Provide ample space for plows to work and steer clear of their blind spots. This also means increasing your following distance behind the plow.
  3. Practice patience and stay behind the plow for the safest road conditions.
  4. Plows often operate in pairs to clear multiple lanes; never position yourself between tandem plows.
  5. In case of a crash or if you need to stop on the side of the road, stay inside your vehicle for both your safety and that of our plow operators.

Last winter, there were 17 plow strikes, a number ITD does not want to repeat. Please be careful driving and mindful of our plows. Check 511.idaho.gov or the Idaho 511 App for road conditions before traveling. For more winter driving tips, visit itd.idaho.gov/travel.

*For real-time updates and photos of plow strikes, visit ITD’s Facebook or X pages. 

Winter weather forces road closures across the state

View from behind the plow of it pushing snow

Blizzard conditions across much of the state has caused the Idaho Transportation Department to close several routes.  

Current closures include:  

Southwest Idaho: 

  • State Highway 21 from Grandjean Junction to Banner Summit 
  • State Highway 21 from Idaho City to Lowman 

South-Central Idaho:  

  • U.S. Highway 93 from Jerome to Shoshone 
  • U.S. Highway 20 from Fairfield to Mountain Home 
  • U.S. Highway 30 from Hansen to Murtaugh 
  • State Highway 75 from Shoshone to Timmerman 
  • State Highway 46 from Gooding to Fairfield 

Southeast Idaho: 

  • State Highway 34 from Conda to Wyoming 
  • State Highway 36 from SH-34 to Ovid 

East Idaho: 

  • State Highway 47 from Ashton to Bear Gulch 
  • State Highway 32 from Tetonia to Ashton 
  • State Highway 33 from Newdale to Tetonia. Note that Teton Pass in Wyoming is also closed.  
  • U.S. Highway 26 from Ririe to Swan Valley 
  • State Highway 31 from Swan Valley to Victor  

Plows will be out in full force today and until the winter weather subsides. The department asks that those who do not need to travel stay home or time their trips around weather conditions.  

To share the road safely with plows, travelers are reminded to:  

  • Never pass a plow on the right.  
  • Give plows room to work by maintaining at least a three-second following distance.  
  • If multiple plows are working in tandem, do not attempt to move between them.  
  • Stay out of the blind spots.  
  • Drive for conditions.  
  • Allow extra time to travel.  

More closures could be possible as the system moves through the state. Road conditions are updated 24/7 at 511.idaho.gov. Drivers are reminded to know before they go and visit the website or check the 511 app before traveling.

Construction at System Interchange halfway complete

Map showing new bridge locations.

The historic rebuild of the System Interchange in Pocatello is nearing the halfway point, and motorists will continue to see progress in the coming year.

Major milestones for the upcoming season include building five new bridges and demolishing one bridge. Bridges will be constructed to carry southbound traffic on Interstate 15, traffic over Chubbuck Road and traffic heading east on Interstate 86 to access northbound I-15.

As crews come back from the holidays, next up for the project will be drilling concrete shafts for the foundations of the new southbound bridges on I-15. Each shaft will be 8 feet in diameter and drilled up to 60 feet deep to support the weight of I-15 passing overhead. Motorists will also notice construction of retaining walls for the new ramp from I-86 eastbound to I-15 northbound.

This winter crews will be in multiple locations throughout the worksite. Motorists are reminded to follow posted speed limits and watch for work vehicles entering and leaving the interstate at any time day or night.

Originally built in the 1960s, the interchange is undergoing a $112 million redesign to improve safety and replace aging infrastructure. These safety improvements include:

  • Redesigning ramps to have drivers trying to head northbound on I-15 from I-86 merge from the right, rather than the left.
  • Traffic from Pocatello Creek Road will no longer have to cross three lanes to head to Chubbuck. Instead drivers will travel under the northbound and southbound lanes of I-15.
  • Chubbuck Road will be transformed from an overpass into underpass. This means oversized vehicles will no longer have to detour off the interstate. Those who walk and bike will also be better able to travel from Chubbuck to the Portneuf Wellness Complex on the east side of the interstate.

Construction is slated for completion in 2025. Those wishing to learn more about the project can visit the website at https://itdprojects.idaho.gov/pages/i-86i-15-system-interchange.

 

Nighttime detours start for System Interchange

aerial view of I-86/I-15 system interchange

Beginning Saturday evening drivers should expect various nighttime detours through next week at the System Interchange in Pocatello as crew demolish old bridges on southbound Interstate 15.

Two detours are scheduled for two nights each.

Eastbound travelers on Interstate 86 trying to head north on Interstate 15 will be detoured to the Pocatello Creek Interchange the following nights:

  • Saturday, Dec. 16, from 9 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 17, from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Northbound travelers on I-15 trying to head westbound on I-86 will be detoured to the Northgate Interchange  the following nights:

  • Tuesday, Dec. 19, from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 20, from 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

During these detours it is important that drivers follow posted speed limits. As work will continue through the winter drivers need to be particularly cautious around snowplows by giving them extra room in the work zone.

Ongoing construction at the System Interchange will improve safety and mobility while replacing bridges built in the 1960s. Work is expected to be complete in 2025. Those wishing to learn more about the project can visit the website: https://itdprojects.idaho.gov/pages/i-86i-15-system-interchange.

New I-86 bridge opens at Chubbuck

A new three-lane Interstate 86 bridge at Chubbuck is now open as construction crews head into Thanksgiving week. The new bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad adds capacity, improves traffic flow, and is designed to last 80 years.

While the bridge is complete and open, work continues nearby with the installation of a new sound wall. In addition, paneling will be installed on the bridge to protect the railroad tracks from any debris falling off the bridge.

Crews will continue to work on the I-86/I-15 System Interchange through the winter months. The next major milestone is opening the new I-15 mainline roadway slated for mid-December. Following that contractors will begin demolition of the old I-15 bridges.

This week crews will work until noon Wednesday and return to the construction site on Monday. Still, it is important that drivers be safe while travelling through the System Interchange, particularly with increased holiday traffic.

“Please pay attention to construction signs, be courteous, follow posted speed limits, and drive safe so everyone can go home safely, including workers on the project,” Engineering Manager Aaron Baird said.

New bridge to open at Chubbuck exit

POCATELLO – Tomorrow afternoon the Idaho Transportation Department will open the new bridge on westbound Interstate 86 near Exit 61 for Chubbuck. Traffic patterns are expected to change between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Once the new bridge is open, westbound traffic will no longer be crossed over to the eastbound lanes. Traffic will flow normally, though westbound travelers will only have one lane.

Crews will continue working in the area for another week to open the other lanes on the bridge. Drivers are urged to follow posted speed limits and share the road.

The bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks was replaced to create three lanes for westbound traffic to better integrate with the redesign of the I-86 and I-15 System Interchange.

Travelers are reminded to know before they go and check 511.idaho.gov for traffic impacts.