Construction starts on widening US 91 from Shelley to York Road

SHELLEY — The drive to Idaho Falls will get more difficult before it gets easier.

After years of waiting, the project to widen United States Highway 91 from Shelley to York Road has finally begun. 

Denice Wright, Staff Engineer at Idaho Transportation Department District Five in Pocatello, said the highway will be widened from two to five lanes, with completion scheduled for Aug. 13, 2021.  The federal government is footing the hefty $7,949,969 bill.

“Current work on the project will continue until December 29th.  Then, there will be no work on the project until after March 1, 2021,” Wright told Community Pioneer.

She explained that when work resumes after March 1, it will continue until the project is completed.

On Sept. 15, ITD awarded the highway project contract to HK Contractors, Inc., of Idaho Falls.

HK Contractors project manager Carl Grover, said they are currently installing new ditches and coverts along the project site.

“Next spring we will begin building the five-lane highway,” he said.

Grover said HK Contractors is building expanding the highway in multiple stages in an effort not to interrupt travel along the highway. First, they will build the new southbound and center turn lanes, leaving the current highway in place.

Once completed, Grover said highway traffic will move onto the newly constructed southbound lanes, while the existing highway is removed and two new northbound lanes are constructed. 

Although traffic will be allowed to continue through the area during construction, Grover recommends drivers find an alternative route to Idaho Falls.  He said this will allow them to complete the project more quickly.

“This is a heavily-traveled highway and there are going to be restrictions due to construction,” Grover said.

 A lower speed limit will be one of those restrictions.

The county roads intersecting with the highway will be temporarily closed as Hk Contractors constructs new intersections.

Grover said they will work with homeowners in the area to ensure they can access the existing highway during the construction of the southbound lanes. 

“I am excited this project is finally started.  A widened highway will provide safe travel between Idaho Falls and Shelley. There have been too many accidents and deaths along this highway,” Shelley mayor Stacy Pascoe told Community Pioneer.

Pascoe added, he would like to see people slow down to avoid any serious accidents during construction.  He also recommended travelers should use a different route to travel to Idaho Falls once the main construction phase begins. 

During construction, ITD will hold public information meetings every Wednesday at 10 a.m. in the Shelley Firth Rural Fire Department.

One thought on “Construction starts on widening US 91 from Shelley to York Road

  • November 19, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Thanks for the update! Nice to be in the know.

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