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Plan Proposed To Ease Traffic Troubles At Busy Intersection

The intersection of Hitt Road and 17th Street is often dubbed one of Bonneville County’s worst intersections.

Now, that intersection spanning Idaho Falls and Ammon could soon become a little safer. If engineers from Idaho Falls and Ammon get their way, quite a bit is going to be done to improve the flow of traffic.

“I’m very frustrated,” said one motorist of the traffic at that intersection.

“It’s so bad to the point where you don’t even know which route to use to get out of here,” said another motorist.

At least one driver can possibly put the gears of change into motion: Kent Fugal, the city engineer for Idaho Falls.

“Any time I run into congestion, I do get frustrated,” Fugal said.

Fugal, in collaboration with the city of Ammon, has drawn up plans to improve the flow of traffic.

“We’re going to expand the left-turn movement on all four legs to two lanes,” Fugal explained. “We’re also going to be adding right-turn bays, which will help to get a lot of that traffic out of those through-lanes and allow the right turns to make their movement through a separate lane.”

Then, there are those pesky “right turn only” turnouts from Target and the Grand Teton Mall, which drivers often violate, so long as they’re not looping all over Hitt Road. There’s a plan to fix that, too.

Raised medians, plus designated U-turn lanes, will be added for easier maneuvering.

“That intersection — it’s gonna cost a fair amount of money to do it,” Fugal said. “But, it’s worth it because it’s a more significant issue than the other intersections in town.”

Drivers would definitely give this plan a green light.

“I would say that’s great,” said one driver.

“They need to do something,” said another.

There are still quite a few obstacles putting the brakes on this project. First, city officials need to obtain the land needed to expand the road. They also need to obtain authorization to move power lines out of the way.

Still, Fugal said things are moving along, and the project could begin as early as this spring.

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