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Wednesday, as local leaders and residents looked on, the ceremonial ribbon was cut to mark the official opening of South Valley Road.
The day marked the culmination of decades of effort to get the road completed by numerous Mayors, City Council members, City employees, contractors, and a multitude of local, state, and federal organizations.
“There have been many times this project looked like it could have ended but one thing has remained constant, the will of so many to see it through to the end,” said Mayor Brian Blad.
The first car to officially take to the road featured current Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad, and former Mayors Roger Chase and Greg Anderson. The mayors then led a convoy of local leaders and residents on a ceremonial cruise down the one-mile stretch of road.
Initial planning for the road can be traced back to the late 1960s but firm plans for the road didn’t begin until the late 1990s. After clearing a number of hurdles, a groundbreaking was held for the project in May 2013. Built in two phases the project took a little over two years to complete. The first phase was completed in 2014 and the second completed now in December of 2015. Because the span of time between planning and construction was so long, a number of staff across many City departments have helped shepherd the project through the process. Recently, that task has fallen to Deirdre Castillo, City Engineer, and it’s she who will get to see the project through to its end.
“This is one of the projects I am most proud to have worked on for the City of Pocatello,” said Castillo. “If it weren’t for the hard work of so many others before me, none of this would be here. Completion of this road marks the beginning of good things for the southern portion of Pocatello. We expect new opportunities for housing and economic development because of the increased mobility to this part of the city.”
The railroad crossing and bridge on Cheyenne Avenue will be closed to pedestrian and vehicle traffic now that South Valley Road is open.
Below is a history and fact sheet highlighting some of the unique points in South Valley Road’s construction.
History1968 – Initial planning is done for a road that would connect the Cheyenne Bridge area to South 5th Avenue1995 – Accident claims the lives of local residents at railroad crossing on Cheyenne Avenue, accident serves as catalyst for moving the project forward1998 – Project receives first round of funding as a Demonstration Project called “Cheyenne Corridor Safety Improvement Project”2007 – Environmental Assessment completed. The EA determined the preferred alternative as the Leo-Harper Alternative (EA reevaluated in 2013 and 2014)2009 – Levee Decertification leads to 2.5 year delay2012 – Design completed with an overpass at I-15 Design changed later in the year to make an I-15 underpass rather than overpass. Sept. 2012 – Unobligated earmark funds of $2.6M were swept, in order to return the funds to the project, Phase 1A project was advanced May 2013 – Groundbreaking held and LeGrand Johnson Co. begins construction2014 – Phase 1A project completedFeb. 2015 – Phase 1B project started by WW ClydeDecember 23, 2015 – Project completed and opened to public
FactsSouth Valley Road is just over a mile long and features 2.003 lane miles of road Project required 11,500 tons of asphalt211,000 cubic yards of material were excavatedSteel used is 100 percent American, steel girders weigh about 2 million pounds (1,000 tons), steel rebar weighs 400,000 lbs.If the steel girders were lined end to end, they would span roughly ¾ mileThree bridges are used in construction:- Portneuf River/Union Pacific Railroad Bridge spans 423 feet- Two I-15 Bridges combined are 370 feetTotal cost of the project is approximately $22 million- Funded through the federal government, Pocatello Development Authority, City of Pocatello,and Union Pacific Railroad