POCATELLO, Idaho - Drivers, beware - as if Yellowstone Ave. wasn't bad enough before, it's about to take busy to a whole new level.
Well, okay, maybe that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but the upcoming Yellowstone Ave. construction project has some people worried, but the city of Pocatello and the Idaho Transportation Department both say we don't have anything to worry about...for the most part.
ITD engineer James Orner said the project will come in four phases - starting with replacing the water line along Yellowstone Ave. Then on June 1, crews will start excavating the entire width of the street and rebuild it back up in short phases.
But, Orner said he and the rest of the project leads are trying to minimize the interruption in the flow of traffic as much as possible. So, they are keeping all of the lanes open during the day, and limiting the construction from seven o'clock at night until seven o'clock the next morning.
"This is a really complicated and tight schedule for the contractors because we understand the business access is important," Orner said. "Pocatello is unique - if you close down a lane on Yellowstone, there's no place for the traffic to go during the day."
The busy street holds the lion share of the city's business district, and local business owners said they are concerned the nighttime traffic will be a negative impact.
For example, drive-thru's will allow cars to drive in, but the construction won't allow them an outlet to drive back out.
General Manager of the Phil Meador car dealerships Jason Meador said he is concerned that installing the new water line will not help his, and other surrounding businesses, with the flooding issues they have been facing.
"My concern is that if there is a bunch of flooding on the other side of town, that is going to make it to where that water is going to be re-routed faster to us and flood our lots quicker than what it does now," Meador said.
His Ford lot lost six cars this past year due to the floods.
The projects are estimated to cost a total of $6.8 million, and they are:
1. New traffic signals will be put up on Pearl and Yellowstone Ave. and by Idaho State University's campus on Carter and South Fifth Ave.
2. New ADA ramps will be installed along Yellowstone Ave. from Cedar to Flandro
3. A new water line will be installed on Yellowstone Ave. from Cedar to Flandro
4. And the entire roadway on Yellowstone Ave. will be reconstructed from Cedar to Flandro.
Orner said the concrete road has not seen this type of reconstruction since the 1970s, and will be replaced with asphalt.
Both the city and ITD say the excavation date for the actual excavation is slated for June 1 through August 1, but the beginning phases for the whole project will begin on Monday.