Ceremonies to kick off two new interchanges
ITDs District 6 will present two public groundbreaking ceremonies to formally launch long-awaited projects that will make crossing busy U.S. 20 and accessing Interstate 15 much safer for motorists. The ceremonies are planned for Thursday (June 10).
A ceremony for the Hitt and St. Leon interchanges on U.S. 20 will begin at 10:30 a.m. The formal launch of a new interchange at I-15 and I-15B (the Sunnyside interchange) will follow at 2 p.m. Sandwiched between the two groundbreakings, a no-host lunch is planned for participating dignitaries and guests. Crews will move the stage, chairs and other equipment from the first site to the other side of Idaho Falls during the break.
Cathy Koon, the district's public information specialist, is coordinating the event with the help of a large contingent of district employees from D-6 Engineer Tom Cole to an inmate work crew that has been painting shovels for the actual groundbreaking.
Koon still is finalizing the programs.
ITD Director Dave Ekern and Chairman Chuck Winder will be the primary speakers at the Sunnyside groundbreaking, and Vice-Chairman Jack Combo will be the master of ceremonies. Dignitaries at the Sunnyside groundbreaking will receive souvenirs that feature a logo. Unveiling of the logo will be part of the ceremonies.
The Idaho Transportation Board approved bids for both projects when it met in Idaho Falls May 20, 21.
Idaho Construction Co. of Kimberly was selected for the three-year, $21 million Sunnyside project. It will link I-15 to Yellowstone Avenue (U.S. 26) and improve access to medical, residential and retail facilities. The project includes a new bridge over the Snake River, downstream from the citys power station, and a connecting road between the two structures.
Western Construction of Boise will build the new St. Leon Road and Hitt Road interchanges on U.S. 20. The new structure will provide better access control and eliminate four at-grade crossings on the busy route. The Tower Road and Telford Road intersections on U.S. 20 will be closed during construction.
To accommodate the new highway project, U.S. 20 will be elevated and realigned to the northwest. Traffic will continue to use U.S. 20 at a reduced speed during construction. Motorists will be unable to access Hitt and St. Leon roads from the highway. Alternate routes to and from Idaho Falls include the Ucon Interchange, Idaho 43 to U.S. 26, the Lewisville Interchange and Holmes Avenue.
Work on the $19 million project is expected to begin later