The construction and road work on Yellowstone Avenue in Pocatello was scheduled to be completed Aug. 1, but the Idaho Transportation Department said Pocatellans will have at least one more month to go.
Part of the construction includes a new traffic light at the intersection of Pearl Street and Yellowstone, along with making all the sidewalks wheelchair accessible with ADA ramps on corners.
The ITD said there have been a few setbacks during the project. One problem is the 60 year-old water line, including problems with valves and other connections to buildings that no longer exist.
ITD pointed out one specific instance of an unpleasant surprise under the intersection of Yellowstone and Griffith Street when crews were replacing a section of sanitary sewer.
"It ended up being 17 feet deep,” said James Orner, resident engineer, “Which is more than what we anticipated on the project, so that took a little while to get that done."
Another cause for delay is the matter of when construction needs to be done. While construction starts at 7 p.m. and goes until 7 a.m., the crews can reduce traffic to two lanes. But beginning at 7 a.m., all four lanes of traffic are required to be open.
Orner said that means any digging they have to do either needs to be done or covered back up to just be dug up again. He said where crews will be paving, they have left the base gravel on the road, and that's where drivers need to reduce their speed.
"Slow down and ease through it,” he said. “It won't take you that much longer. If we get a few cars that are trying to speed through, all they do is stir up dust and make problems for other people."
Orner said the crews have to find a delicate balance of keeping the gravel wet to keep dust down, and not so wet that there end up being ruts in the road. He advised Pocatello drivers to just be patient.
Also, it's important to note Yellowstone Avenue is part of the state highway system, meaning the ITD uses contractors to complete the work, while the city of Pocatello is not doing the construction.