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Officials with the City of Pocatello Engineering Department have finished their look into how many residents are using one of the city’s newest intersections.
In June, workers placed traffic counters at the intersection of South Valley Road and Bannock Highway to get a snapshot of how motorists were using the new thoroughfare. Their count revealed that roughly 5,100 vehicles travel on South Valley Road on a daily basis. Since the opening of the new road, traffic on Bannock Highway north of South Valley Road has decreased by 20 percent while traffic on Bannock Highway south of South Valley Road has increased by 77 percent.
“We’re happy to see residents take advantage of South Valley Road,” said Michael R. Jaglowski, PE, Public Works Director. “The goal of Pocatello's Public Works Departments is to improve the lives of the city’s residents. I’m glad the traffic count shows we’ve met our goal with the completion of South Valley Road.”
The count also helps identify improvements that could alleviate any congestion at the new intersection. The upgrades could include changing signage, adding turn lanes, and installing a traffic signal. In the case of a traffic signal, City engineers follow the guidelines laid out by the State of Idaho to determine if a signal is the best course of action. The eight criteria officials analyze include:
Eight-hour vehicular volumeFour-hour vehicular volumePeak-hour vehicular volumePedestrian volumeSchool crossingCoordinated signal systemCrash experienceRoadway network
“In the case of South Valley Road, only the peak-hour vehicular volume criteria is met,” said Deirdre Castillo, P.E. City Engineer. “We understand that it is frustrating when you get held up on the road. Traffic signals are an expensive option and engineers have determined that turn lanes may be the best course of action until more criteria are met. We’re also exploring other options to cut down on any congestion.”
South Valley Road was completed and opened to the public in December 2015. Since then, it has gone on to win awards from American Public Works Association’s Rocky Mountain Chapter, Institute of Transportation Engineers Intermountain Section, the Association of Idaho Cities, and the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.