Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Idaho Falls, Ammon to reconfigure intersection at 25th Street and Hitt Road

The plan for a new signal at Hitt Road and 25th Street
It might be a little soon to think about the holiday season — Christmas is still more than six months away,  at least until Thursday — but here are early tidings of comfort and joy: Getting onto Hitt Road from the Target parking lot is going to be a lot easier by the end of this year.

At a work session Monday, the Idaho Falls City Council approved the reconfiguration of the traffic signal at Hitt and 25th Street, just south of the Ammon Town Center.

The city of Ammon has agreed to build an access road from the shopping center parking lot with left- and right-turn lanes. In effect, the intersection will become what was discussed years ago, a four-way traffic signal far enough from the signal at 17th Street to keep traffic on Hitt flowing in an orderly way.

This is much better than placing a traffic signal at the main entrance into the Target parking lot, said Chris Fredericksen, Idaho Falls Public Works director. “When you have traffic signals spaced too close together, they don’t function property, so we’ve always been reluctant to place a signal there.”

The solution approved Monday is to have a westbound, exit-only lane at 25th and Hitt. The reconfiguration will allow traffic to go straight, turn right and turn left out of the shopping center.

The cost has been estimated at under $200,000, and will be shared 50-50 between Idaho Falls and Ammon, with Ammon paying for the access road from the shopping center.

“This project is yet another joint effort to improve both safety and address traffic flow on Hitt Road,” said Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “There is great willingness between the two cities to make the improvements happen in advance of the busy shopping season.”

Since April 2014, council members from each city have been meeting to discuss the intersections at Hitt Road and 17th Street, 25th Street and Sunnyside Road. With Cabela’s open and Hobby Lobby scheduled to open Aug. 3, the Sunnyside intersection and road improvements to the south were the top priority.

But the situation at Target has long been a frustration. “The public has waited long enough for better, safer movement in and out of Ammon Town Center,” said Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham.