To pave or not to pave Bellin Road

To pave or not to pave Bellin Road

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - Bellin Road could be the key to connecting Sunnyside and Broadway in Idaho Falls. The road is just off Interstate 15 west of town. But not everyone is on board with the idea to pave it and allow public through-traffic.

That's why the Idaho Falls Planning Development held an open house on Wednesday night to get public input on whether that gravel section of Bellin Road will turn into a dead-end street or cut through to the city's main roads.

"When we bought this home, we were told that this street would never be a through street," said Rhonda Hobbs, a resident of Bellin Road.

Hobbs and her husband bought their home on Bellin Road because of how quiet the street was considering its close proximity to downtown Idaho Falls.

Bellin Road turns into a gravel road with no through-traffic signs, to keep busy traffic from I-15 and Sunnyside Road out. But the signs haven't been working.

"My fear is that it will turn into another 17th Street of Sunnyside Road," said Hobbs.

But Teton Peaks Investment's Larry Reinhart says developers who own land on Sunnyside Road want road access for future customers.

"It doesn't make much sense to close the road and close access when you put that type of infrastructure up," said Reinhart.

Commuters and emergency services agree that Bellin Road would give them quicker access.

That's why the Idaho Falls Planning Development along with Keller & Associates have been studying the traffic flow on Bellin Road over the past eight years.

According to Assistant Planning Director Brad Kramer, "the current daily use of Bellin really isn't any different from the number of cars in 2005 when it didn't connect to anything."

Kramer also says "even if Sunnyside Crossroads develops 100 percent, and all the acreage and Bellin Road connect, the traffic only increases 300 to 400 trips. "

But even with these statistics, the purpose of Wednesday night's meeting was "to get as many people here as we can to give us their comments and ideas," said Kramer.

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