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Construction Slows Interstate 15, Frustrates Ammon Parents

Summer is winding down, and the holiday weekend just days away, but road construction still seems to be clogging up the traffic.

Two projects in particular are causing headaches. A sewer project in Ammon has parents driving in circles for school drop-offs. And seal coating on Interstate 15 between Fort Hall and Blackfoot has traffic down to one lane.

It’s good news if you’re planning to take I-15 over the Labor Day weekend or headed to the fair.

But those in Ammon may want to set the alarm clock a little earlier in the morning and get used to it.

Dennis Beirma made a break from the Sand Creek Middle School pick-up line on Tuesday afternoon, but he was already dreading the next morning’s drop-off.

“It’s a real pain in the butt,” said Beirma.

That pain is affecting nearly 800 families, and all thanks to the city of Ammon’s sewer project. It’s shut down part of Owen Street, leaving Carolyn Lane the only way to access the school, and forcing a right turn only onto Sunnyside.

“I think my daughter was 20 minutes late getting into school,” said Lacie Upton of her seventh grader’s second day of school.

“I can’t figure out why this wasn’t thought out a bit sooner where maybe … (it) could’ve been done before school started,” said Beirma.

City council president Dana Kirkham said the project was scheduled to finish a week ago, but problems with the water line, among other complications, set it back until July.

Traffic is down to one lane on a seven mile stretch of I-15 between Fort Hall and Blackfoot since a seal coating project started last Wednesday. With the Eastern Idaho State Fair just days away, will it be finished in time?

“We watch that schedule closely near the Blackfoot area for fair activity,” said James Orner, with the Idaho Transportation Department.

If all goes as planned, the project will be complete on Friday, just in time for opening day on Saturday.

It’s a different story, however, for those in Ammon. Owen Street is expected to open by Wednesday, alleviating some congestion. But then the digging will move to Midway, meaning chaos through mid-October.

“Oh my gosh,” said Upton. “I’m not looking forward to that at all.”

Police are asking drivers to avoid Sunnyside Road in Ammon during the morning drop-off period and the afternoon pick-up, if at all possible.

A representative with ITD said they are looking into a nighttime-only rule for future construction on I-15.

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