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Pocatello honored with multiple awards at APWA Conference

City of Pocatello

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI) - The City of Pocatello took home a handful of awards at this year’s American Public Works Association (APWA) Conference.

When deciding which city gets an award, the APWA looks at how the project improves the quality of life, solves a community problem, reduces the cost of government, and increases city services with minimal additional dollar outlay.

The APWA serves professionals in all aspects of public works – a fact that sets it apart from other organizations and makes it an effective voice of public works throughout North America. With a worldwide membership more of than 30,000 strong. APWA includes not only personnel from the local, county, state/province, and federal agencies, but also private sector personnel who supply products and services to those professionals. Membership in APWA is open to any individual, agency, or cooperation with an interest in public works and infrastructure issues.

City of Pocatello staff members highlighted for their contributions to the relevant projects are as follows:

Northgate Interchange Public-Private Partnership (2019): Merril Quayle, Public Works Development Engineer; Jeff Mansfield, Public Works Director and City Engineer

What was once a futuristic pipedream of an interchange connecting the outskirts of Chubbuck with Pocatello is now a fully functioning reality thanks to a Public-Private Partnership (P3). Through funding provided by: City of Pocatello, City of Chubbuck, Bannock County, Idaho Department of Transportation, Pocatello Development Authority, and Millennial Development, the Northgate Interchange was finished 15 years earlier than masterplans suggested it could be. The project cost was over 12 million dollars and took just over two years to complete. This project was made possible through the innovative cooperation of officials at the State, County and City levels, as well as the private sector.

The groundbreaking for the project was on September 14, 2017, and the project was completed on December 6, 2019. The Northgate Project is expected to open up development access for a future master-planned community called The Northgate District. The original project included the interchange, new homes, a retirement community, a medical campus, a 1-million-square-foot technology park, and retail stores.

Northgate interchange was the largest public/private partnership ever completed in Idaho. Project design happened in eight months which is unheard of with this scope of a project. By comparison, the Fort Hall interchange has taken two years to design. The interchange opened almost one year after construction began to the date.

Based on statistics provided by Idaho Transportation Department, after the interchange had only been open for one month, it was averaging 4,000 cars a day using it (2020).

This usage is a testament to the need for an alternate route. Overall the bridge is 174 feet long, over 108 feet wide, and has three turn bays, four through lanes, and a 10-inch multi-use path. It is anticipated that the Northgate Interchange should meet traffic demands for the next 20-30 years. The structure itself, if properly maintained, should last for at least 75 years.

Pocatello Creek Restoration Project: Hannah Sanger, Science & Environment Division Manager; Austin Suing, Project Engineer

In 2018, the City of Pocatello Science and Environmental department received a Flood Management Grant available through the Idaho Water Resource Board, for flood damage along Pocatello Creek, which was eroding into nearby sidewalks, power lines, fences, irrigation structures, and a sanitary sewer line. With public health concerns looming, the City decided this was a project that took precedence. These issues had been caused by channelization of the stream and overgrowth of large invasive trees that were falling into the stream and redirecting flow into highly erosive adjacent soils.

In 2019, the City of Pocatello selected Biota Inc. for the design of bioengineered bank stabilization treatments and TDX Power Services for project construction. Overall the project cost was just over $65,000.

A total of 175 ft. of stream bank was stabilized and approximately 800 willow cuttings were planted. The use of a dozen volunteers to cut the willows helped reduce costs and provided an opportunity for community engagement in this stream restoration project.

NAPA parts store: Tom Kirkman, Public Works Deputy Director; Teresa Caudill, Fleet Manager

Technical and Management Innovation Award for the City of Pocatello’s Auto Parts Store; serving the City of Pocatello’s vehicle and equipment parts needs

The City of Pocatello’s Public Works Department has been taking big steps to consolidate operations and find efficiencies wherever possible. As part of those efforts, the City’s Fleet Services Department was established in 2019 to streamline repair services for City vehicles and equipment. Prior to this, auto parts inventories, as well as vehicle/equipment repairs were decentralized- completed by individual departments or sent to outside repair shops.

The City’s Fleet Services Department implemented an on-site auto parts store in March 2020, known as Integrated Business Solutions, powered by NAPA. The City utilized Sourcewell, a joint cooperative purchasing program, for the procurement of this service.

The store serves City mechanics from inside the Public Works Annex Building- home to the City’s Street, Fleet, and Sanitation Departments. However, almost all of the City’s ~600 vehicles and equipment are serviced at this location.

The store provides a complete parts inventory and a full-time employee, as well as technical support, customer support, and the like on an administrative level.

The store has also saved the City an immeasurable amount of up-front inventory costs. The store purchases and maintains the City’s parts inventory at their expense, and only charges the City for parts as they are taken off the shelf. Previously, City mechanics would purchase parts in bulk when possible in an attempt to save money. But, if those bulk parts weren’t used, they simply sat on the shelf, becoming obsolete. Now, the City’s parts store closely manages the parts inventory and purchases parts as needed, which reduces material and monetary waste.

Pocatello’s Old Town Connection Trial Project: Merril Quayle, Public Works Engineer; Maggie Clark, Project Manager

Project of the Year, less than $1million

The Old Town Connection Trial project connects 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue via a walking path, further improving connectivity and walkability in the city. The pathway extends the linkage between the community east of the Union Pacific Railroad, the already existing City Creek Trail System, and the Portneuf Greenway Trail System.

The Old Town Connection Trail required funding from three different sources. The City of Pocatello pursued grants from the IFFT Foundation, the Idaho Parks and Recreation Foundation, and Leadership Pocatello. Additionally, funding was pursued through various local businesses and non-profits. The City collaborated with Idaho State University to seek grant dollars to paint the path, bridge columns, and abutment. The project improves the historic Warehouse District by converting an unused right of way into a connecting passageway full of art, history, and community value.

On May 19, 2021, crews began work on the Old Town Connection trail. The 300-foot long, 10-foot wide non-motorized pathway runs along the north side of the Benton Street Bridge and connects South 1st Avenue to South 2nd Avenue. The Old Town Connection trail was paved end to end, features lighting, and serves as a connecting link in the Portneuf Greenway Trail system.

The construction cost for the trail is $65,259 and it is being funded by a $24,500 grant from the Idaho State Department of Parks and Recreation, $10,000 IFFT Foundation grant, and $10,649 in City funds and in-kind labor, as well as federal sources.

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