ITD Alt Proposal

Alternative E3 for the interchange between I-15 and U.S. 20.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published with outdated alternative plans for the interchange. It has been updated to reflect the current proposals.The Idaho Transportation Department opened a digital open house last week for public feedback on potential changes to the intersection of Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 20.

The department has held three public meetings on the proposed alternative interchanges since 2018. ITD District 6 spokeswoman Megan Stark said the department had hoped to host an in-person public meeting this spring but decided to push it back and eventually move the presentation online.

The open house meeting, which lasts from Aug. 6 to Aug. 24, will include videos and slides going over the three proposed plans currently being considered for the highways:

  • Alternative C3, which keeps the connection point at the same place but enlarges the connecting ramp, adds a local bridge across the Snake River at Higham Street and closes exit 307 off of U.S. 20.
  • Alternative H2, which moves the intersection to the north of Idaho Falls Regional Airport and would have U.S. 20 passing just south of Sage Creek Golf Course.
  • Alternative E3, which would move the intersection a half-mile north, create a new bridge across the Snake River for U.S. 20 on Olympia Drive and create an interstate exit closer to Idaho Falls Regional Airport.

“This exchange was built when our traffic volume was much, much less and here we are years later, needing to expand and improve the whole connector area to accommodate the increased traffic flow,” Stark said.

This round of public feedback is the final phase of the Planning and Environmental Linkage Study, a two-year review of the effects the change could have on residents and visitors. The road will then go through at least two years of review under the National Environmental Protection Act before any construction can be done.

People can access the virtual public meeting at i15us20connector.com during the 18 days it will be available online. Idaho Transportation Department will be receiving any other public comment on the alternative intersections through Aug. 25.

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.