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I-86/I-15 System Interchange

The Idaho Transportation Department is working to improve the I-86/I-15 System Interchange in the Pocatello/Chubbuck metropolitan area.

This project aims to improve safety, mobility, and economic opportunity by upgrading the roadway to current engineering standards, replacing the aging, functionally obsolete bridge structures and improving the turning movements for motorists for better overall function of the system interchange​.

Project Updates

You can now receive project updates directly from ITD via email. Click here to sign-up!


Latest Update: December 13, 2022

As we transition into winter operations, construction continues at the System Interchange in Pocatello. Currently columns, abutments, retaining walls, and bridges are being built. In addition, pile-driving continues near Chubbuck Road.

Motorists will notice reduced construction activity due to weather conditions at the System Interchange. However, drivers should still be careful and look for vehicles entering and exiting the roadway. It is essential to driver and worker safety that vehicles obey reduced speed limits, give other drivers room to maneuver, and drive defensively.

Check the 511 app or https://511.idaho.gov for current road conditions.

 

November 1, 2022

Workers using heavy equipment to drive piles for a bridge

Example of a pile driving operation

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 https://511.idaho.gov or the 511 app to keep track of road conditions and construction. Project details are available on ITD’s projects website — https://itdprojects.org/projects/i-86-i-15-system-interchange/

Citizens who wish to receive updates via email can subscribe at this link: https://lp.constantcontactpages.com/su/g9MMkN9

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.

October 13, 2022 — System Interchange Construction in Full Swing

View of concrete rail on Chubbuck Road showing the date 1962

The age of the 1960s era bridges necessitated the historic rebuild of the System Interchange at Pocatello

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.

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.

View of earthmoving equipment looking south near Pocatello Creek Exit

Earthmoving equipment is working throughout the System Interchange project site

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.

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.

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 – https://youtu.be/KRdVBAyXweA

Project details are available here on ITD’s projects website — https://itdprojects.org/projects/i-86-i-15-system-interchange/

Water truck spraying dusty ground to control dust

Water trucks are working tirelessly to keep dust from construction to a minimum.

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.

 

 


 

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