The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. with remarks from Ammon Mayor Dana Kirkham, followed by comments from Ammon City Councilman Brad Christensen and Idaho Falls City Council President Mike Lehto. The cities will cut the ceremonial ribbon by making a symbolic left turn onto Hitt Road through the ribbon and then circling back around to the green space along the new corridor.
Work on the improvements began Oct. 5 with H-K Contractors developing an exit-only roadway behind Target and a new four-way traffic signal. According to a press release from the city of Idaho Falls, work was completed on schedule and under budget. The cost of the signal upgrade, right-of-way work and materials was $147,300, and was shared equally between Ammon and Idaho Falls. The work beyond the Hitt Road right-of-way that connects the Target parking lot to the new intersection has been paid by the city of Ammon with support from Woodbury Corp.
Making a left turn out of the Ammon Town Square parking lot has been a headache for years. Because of the short distance between the 17th Street and 25th Street signals, Idaho Transportation Department regulations precluded another signal being put in.
Council members and department directors from both cities began talking in April 2014 about coordinating efforts along the Hitt Road corridor. Subcommittees were formed to evaluate and explore options for improvements at key intersections and projects were ranked by priority. After the work at Sunnyside at Hitt appeared to be on track, attention shifted to the East 25th Street and Hitt Road intersection, with an eye toward relieving traffic congestion along that corridor before the 2015 holiday season started.
One person who was instrumental in getting the project on the rails was the late Idaho Falls Councilman Dee Whittier, who will have a tree planted in his memory at the site.
”He was a tremendous partner who had a passion for this and other traffic issues,” Christensen said.
Redesign of the intersection at 17th and Hitt remains a high priority for both cities, but they do not anticipate any work this budget year. Both cities continue to investigate redesign and funding options.