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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: September 22, 2023

POCATELLO – Beginning Monday and continuing through Wednesday, nighttime closures will be in place for a section of Interstate 15 and Interstate 86 at the System Interchange to allow crews to safely remove overhead signage.

One southbound lane will be closed on I-15, and the southbound ramp to I-86 will also be closed. Drivers looking to head west on I-86 will be detoured off the interstate at Northgate, west to State Highway 91, and then south to the Chubbuck Interchange. The closures will last from 9:30 p.m. until 5:30 a.m. each night.

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.

August 22, 2023

POCATELLO – Due to recent inclement weather, the daytime closure of the north-to-west ramp at the System Interchange will continue into Wednesday. The additional time is needed to complete placement of the steel girders for new bridges.

Traffic will be directed to the Northgate Interchange, adding approximately five minutes to travel times. Drivers will exit at Northgate, cross over I-15, and then proceed south on I-15. The detour will be in place starting at 5 a.m. until work is be completed. The same detour has been in place for the last 3 weekdays.

Girders are horizontal steel beams designed to support the bridge deck. As the beams are placed over the northbound to westbound ramp it is necessary to close the roadway beneath for the safety of the travelling public.

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 additional caution while travelling through the construction zone. Those wishing to receive email updates about the System Interchange project can sign-up at this link – 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.

August 16, 2023

POCATELLO – Drivers on I-15 northbound heading west on I-86 toward Chubbuck will be detoured several days in the next week as crews install girders at the Interchange. Ongoing construction at the System Interchange will improve safety and mobility while replacing bridges built in the 1960s.

Girders are horizontal steel beams designed to support the bridge deck. As the beams will be placed over the northbound to westbound ramp it is necessary to close the roadway beneath for the safety of the travelling public.

Traffic will be directed to the Northgate Interchange, adding approximately five minutes to travel times. Detours are expected to be in place from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. the following days:

  • Thursday, Aug. 17
  • Monday, Aug. 21
  • Tuesday, Aug. 22

Motorists should exercise additional caution while travelling through the construction zone. Those wishing to receive email updates about the System Interchange project can sign-up at this link – . Drivers can also check or download the 511 app for the last traffic conditions on all state highways and freeways.

May 30, 2023

POCATELLO – The Idaho Transportation Department continues to work on the System Interchange at Pocatello. Here is what has been happening:

  • Pile driven on the new northbound structures.
  • Heavy equipment built up the northbound road. Some locations still need 20 to 30 feet of fill.
  • The Chubbuck Road under I-15 has begun along with associated retaining wall.

During the next week motorists will notice the following. The majority of the work will be done during daylight hours, but there will be some nighttime activities:

  • The deck will be poured for the new northbound bridge over the east-to-north ramp.
  • The Chubbuck Road retaining wall will continue to be built.
  • Pile driving will continue for various bridges.
  • More material will be brought in to build up the new northbound road.

Nearby drivers will also notice work being done on the railroad bridge just east of the I-86 Chubbuck exit. Over the last few days crews have:

  • Finished paving the eastbound lane. Traffic will be shifted over today to the crossover lane.
  • Demolition of the bridge over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks has begun.
  • The eastbound on-ramp at Chubbuck opened to traffic again.

Next week the demolition of the Union Pacific Railroad bridge will be finished during evening hours. As with the System Interchange, some nighttime activities will occur to minimize traffic impacts.

April 14, 2023

POCATELLO – As temperatures warm motorists will see nighttime work starting up again at the System Interchange project in Pocatello. In addition, there will be short-term detours while girders are placed for the new northbound bridge. As of this morning the east to northbound ramp is closed. Traffic is being diverted south to detour through the Pocatello Creek interchange.

Heavy equipment will be moving earth during the night as contractors rebuild the interchange. The excavated earth will be moved on the large conveyor system the Idaho Transportation Department has been using to limit the need for heavy trucks entering and exiting the Interstate within the work zone.

The massive project requires nearly round-the-clock work during summer months to achieve the goals set by ITD for project completion. During the nighttime work nearby businesses and residents may notice more noise from the heavy equipment moving about the worksite.

Detours necessitated by the placement of girders will be updated on 511.idaho.gov or in the 511 app. While this work continues, weather is major factor for the timing of closures. Motorists are encouraged to keep up-to-date via 511.

Motorists should exercise additional care at night to keep everyone safe. ITD asks motorists to keep their eyes on the road, slow down, obey signs, and be patient with other drivers.

The System Interchange project is part of Governor Little’s “Leading Idaho” initiative that pays for shovel-ready projects to move forward without delay.

March 30, 2023

POCATELLO – The recent snowstorm has delayed delivery of girders for the new I-15 bridge at the System Interchange in Pocatello. ITD planned to install the girders this weekend, but they could not be safely delivered to Pocatello in time. This means the planned lane closures for this weekend will also be delayed until all of the girders can be safely delivered to Pocatello. When that occurs, ITD will update the public.

 

March 21, 2023

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 https://youtu.be/KRdVBAyXweA

 

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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