ITD Board approves funding for Snake River Crossing environmental analysis, and other traffic improvement efforts in the Magic Valley

Aerial shot of the Snake River Canyon

The Idaho Transportation Board approved a resolution today to begin next steps to enhance Magic Valley regional mobility including consideration of a third Snake River crossing near Twin Falls.

ITD was approved to utilize up to $9 million to initiate recommendations presented based on a feasibility study developed with stakeholder interviews, traffic evaluations, design reviews, and close coordination with the Third River Joint Powers Board, the city of Twin Falls, and the Magic Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization.

ITD Chief Deputy Director Dan McElhinney stated, “It takes strong regional partnerships that are united and persistent to bring a major bridge project to reality. All are here today in teamwork with ITD. There are significant, complicated environmental and design work ahead that will likely require creative funding solutions partnering over the next few years.”

The Snake River Crossing project will follow the National Environmental Policy Act procedures over the next two years with ITD engaging many stakeholders, initiating field studies and preliminary design on alternatives to consider. Once a NEPA document is complete a preferred alternative can be selected, as efforts continue to identify funding for construction.

In addition to the potential for a new bridge over the Snake River, the process will include consideration of other improvements to ease congestion and enhance connectivity, such as:

  • Widen existing bridges on US-30 and SH-46.
  • Extend SH-79 or SH-25 south of Jerome across the canyon to US-93.

Other projects will also move forward, including:

  • Widening or replacement of the SH-50 Hansen Bridge and widening five miles of SH-50.
  • Traffic mobility improvements to the intersection of US-93 (Pole Line Road) and Blue Lakes Boulevard.

ITD District 4 Engineer Jesse Barrus said, “All of these near and long term improvement considerations will help provide this growing region with important mobility alternatives as our existing transportation system continues to experience more traffic demand.”