The original completion date for the Yellowstone Avenue project in Pocatello is upon us, but the work is far from done. We have an update on the timeline.
When the construction first began back in April, officials told us drivers would be in the clear the start of September. But things have changed, now Yellowstone Avenue isn’t predicted to be complete until mid-October thanks to a few unexpected delays, and commuters and area business owners aren’t too thrilled.
“Quite a few bumps in the road,” said James Orner, and engineer with the Idaho Transportation Department.
The $6.7 million project is supposed to improve Yellowstone, with replacing a water line and upgrading handicap access at intersections to comply with code, but so far, it’s just caused a bigger mess.
“It’s horrible, got cars sliding all over the place, gravel roads, people are avoiding it, it’s slowed down business quite a bit,” said Tyson Daniels, who owns Grease Monkeys on Yellowstone Avenue.
Daniels didn’t know what he was in for when the construction began, but neither did the team behind the project.
“We would try to dress it up and get it good enough to get through the next day, and sometimes we’d get a rainstorm, we’d have to close the outside lane because it’d get too wet and bumpy. It’s been a struggle,” said Orner.
After solving an issue with the city’s 60 year old pipes, Mother Nature is the next hurdle. The water main is finished, but building the road back up is posing quite the challenge.
“If we get rainstorms, the outside lanes are going to be a disaster. If you don’t need to go to the stores down there, try to stay away. And one of the things we’re trying to do is do this work at night so we don’t impact the stores as much,” added Orner.
But that’s causing a problem all on its own. Business owners are getting fed up with the process that accessing their property has turned into
Daniels told us, “People are avoiding the area. It’s just tough getting in and out, so I think people are trying to take alternate routes. I know coming in here today I saw the big dust cloud coming from Quinn Road and I know I didn’t want to come down.”
But Orner said, “There are a lot of other ways to access those stores from the side streets and such, if you don’t need to be on Yellowstone and it’s raining, don’t go down there.”
The concrete needs to be 2.5 to 3 feet deep, and they can’t break it up into small sections or the finished road will feel way too bumpy to drive on, so they have to resort to layers at a time. The best way to help them keep on schedule is to ease up traffic on Yellowstone, take another route, and lighten the burden on the unfinished base... and of course make the rain stop.