Power Pole Relocation at 17th Street & Hitt Road Intersection

 Idaho Falls, ID – Rocky Mountain Power will be relocating power poles on 25th East (Hitt Road) at 17th Street the week of October 3-7, 2016 in advance of intersection improvements to be constructed in 2017.

The outside lane on 25th East, as traffic approaches the intersection from the south, will be closed on Monday, October 3, from approximately 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Lane closures after 8 p.m. daily and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday will occur as needed. Periodic closures of other outside lanes on 17th Street and 25th East, around the southeast and southwest corners of the intersection, may also be required.

Please use caution and extend courtesy to workers and other drivers when traveling through the work zones.

For additional information or questions, please contact Idaho Falls Public Works at (208) 612-8250.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls:  Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Public Encouraged to Stay Clear of River Banks

Idaho Falls, ID – Idaho Falls Power (IFP) is requesting that the public stay clear from the banks of the river on the stretch between Tower Road and County line Road as crews conduct a sediment removal project at the Upper Hydropower Plant located five miles north of town. The project started today and will continue until October 30.

This is an active project with heavy equipment in operation. As the river is drawn down, the slopes along the riverbanks in some areas are not stable. The public should use caution.

Access to the area directly around the project will be closed for the duration of the project, but the roads will not be closed to the public.

The project involves lowering the river approximately six feet in that area, constructing a coffer dam in the west channel and removing approximately 75,000 cubic yards of sediment in front of the power house that has accumulated over the past thirty years. The sediment will be placed on the adjacent island and revegetated after project completion.

IFP will also be taking advantage of the lowered water level to rebuild the boat launch on the east bank of the river adjacent to the project.

IFP has worked closely with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Fish and Game and the Army Corps of Engineers to plan, coordinate and obtain permits for this project.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Power:  Idaho Falls Power is a municipal electric utility serving the corporate city limits of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The City has operated the utility continuously since its establishment in 1900. Learn more on our website.

Traffic to be Detoured at Grandview Drive & Foote Drive

Idaho Falls, ID – Traffic at the intersection of Grandview Drive and Foote Drive will be detoured Thursday, September 29, beginning at 7 p.m. The roadway will reopen at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 30.

Foote Drive traffic will be detoured west on Grandview Drive, then north on Skyline Drive and east on Sawtelle Street.

The work is part of the widening and reconstruction project on Grandview Drive from Skyline Drive to Saturn Avenue.

The reconstruction and widening of Grandview Drive from Skyline Drive to Saturn Avenue began August 1.  This federally-funded project will provide roadway improvements including the reconstruction of the roadway, widening of Grandview Drive to five lanes, a 12ft wide shared use pathway on the south side of the roadway, and a sidewalk on the north side of the roadway between Skyline Drive and Saturn Avenue.

Motorists should watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits.

For questions, call Public Works at (208) 612-8250.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls:  Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

17th Street and Hitt Road Intersection Construction

Idaho Falls, ID – The roadway just east of the intersection of 17th Street and Hitt Road will be under construction the night hours of Tuesday, September 27 and Wednesday, September 28. There will be lane restrictions through the intersection.

Intermountain Gas will be installing a new line across 17th Street east of Hitt Road (near the Sand Creek Bridge in Ammon) which will require lane restrictions from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on both nights.

Motorists should use caution, watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits. For questions or concerns, call Idaho Falls Public Works at (208) 612-8250.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls:  Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Traffic Signal Removal Schedule

Idaho Falls, ID – The City of Idaho Falls Public Works Department and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), will begin removing traffic signals throughout Idaho Falls on September 28, 2016.  The scheduled removal follows an extensive traffic signal removal study, public comment period and a final decision to remove signals on September 8, 2016.  The schedule for removal of the traffic signals is anticipated as follows:

  • Broadway and Lindsay Boulevard – early morning of Sept. 28
  • Broadway and Shoup Avenue – early morning of Sept. 29
  • 17th Street and June Avenue – early morning of Oct. 2
  • Yellowstone Avenue and “A” Street – morning of Oct. 2
  • Yellowstone Avenue and “B” Street – late October with actual date to be determined based on equipment arrival

The decision to remove the two signals on Yellowstone Avenue also included the installation of a pedestrian hybrid beacon, also known as a HAWK signal – similar to that installed on Pancheri Drive near Skyline High School and Eagle Rock Middle School in 2015. The HAWK signal will be placed at the “B” Street intersection to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists crossing Yellowstone Avenue.

As each signal is removed, the public should expect traffic restrictions and detours to keep vehicular traffic free from the hazard of moving equipment for a duration of approximately two to three hours. As each signal is removed, it will be replaced with stop signs on the minor street approaches.  Temporary signage will also be installed to warn drivers of the changed condition.

The Idaho Falls Public Works Department and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), assisted by a private traffic engineering consultant, have been studying the potential removal of various traffic signals within Idaho Falls over the past several months.  Candidate intersections were selected based on the amount of side street traffic being served and the proximity to other traffic signals in the corridor.

A preliminary screening of each intersection was performed consisting of traffic analysis, crash data and an evaluation of intersection geometry. Based on that screening, six of the original twelve studied intersections were advanced to the detailed analysis stage of the study.  That study consisted of taking each of the traffic signals out of operation for four days, conducting delay studies before and during the shut-down periods, and performing additional traffic and cost analysis.

The results of the preliminary screening and detailed analysis were posted to the City’s website and presented to the public at an open house on June 28, 2016.  Those results and the public comments received were then submitted to the Mayor and City Council, along with recommendations from City staff and ITD regarding potential signal removal.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Public Works:  The Public Works Department consists of six divisions. The Engineering Division provides Survey, Design and Project Management services to the rest of Public Works and other city divisions. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Division coordinates Mapping and Informational Services with other city divisions.  The Sanitation Division provides solid waste collection and disposal. The Sewer Division provides sanitary sewage collection and treatment for the city and areas in Bonneville County; and storm water collection and treatment for the city.  The Street Division maintains the streets, bridges, alleys, and public parking lots. The Water Division provides and distributes potable water.

Record-Breaking Year for Idaho Falls Zoo

Idaho Falls, ID – Staff at the Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park are thrilled to announce record-breaking attendance numbers this season. The record of 130,157 visitors was officially reached on Tuesday, September 20.

April and July were also record-breaking months for attendance at the zoo. Total visits will continue to climb as the zoo finishes out their season.

Much of the growth this year is attributed to increased community awareness and marketing initiatives such as press releases, the zoo’s new Facebook page that already has more than 2,300 likes, and support from local media outlets which assisted with public outreach.

The limited-time snake exhibit – Jewels of Asia – featuring three species of snakes never before seen at the zoo was also a huge attraction that drove visitation numbers up. Additionally, zoo staff offered more education programs this year that were all at capacity for attendance.

David Pennock, Zoo Superintendent stated, “The increased visits are also attributed to the amazing and passionate staff and volunteers at the zoo.  This group has worked so hard to make our zoo the best it can be by improving community outreach, taking excellent care of animals and zoo grounds, fundraising and continuing essential animal conservation measures,” adds Pennock.

Prior to this year, 2009 was the zoo’s highest attendance year at 129,709 guest. This was also the year the zoo brought back the bears.

According to patron surveys, 63 percent of zoo visitors came from outside of Idaho Falls. From April 9 to July 19, 2016, the zoo hosted more than 7,700 school children from 31 communities in 12 counties across Idaho and from cities in southwestern Montana and western Wyoming.  A previous independent study from 2009, using visitor surveys, concluded that the zoo adds $3.54 million annually to the local economy.

Earlier in the month, the Idaho Falls City Council approved a resolution to adopt the Idaho Falls Zoo Five-Year Strategic Plan which will guide future decision-making for the zoo including additional facilities, staffing, marketing, education, volunteer and conservation initiatives.

“Our season may be winding down, but we are just getting started on plans for the zoo’s future. When you combine an excellent staff, more than 330 animals, beautiful grounds, and an incredibly supportive community – the sky’s the limit,” adds Pennock.

Fall and winter recreation enthusiast can now learn about a multitude of recreation activities and facilities that are available throughout our community in the recently released 2016 Fall/Winter issue of the Discover Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Activity Guide.  Guides can also be found in local businesses and in our FREE distribution racks located in city parks and facilities. 

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park:   With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the state of Idaho and is considered the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 national Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.

 

Weekend Road Closure of S. Holmes Avenue

Idaho Falls, ID – Beginning Friday, September 23 at 7 p.m., S. Holmes Avenue will be closed from Cleveland Street to 3rd Street for grading and paving. Traffic will be detoured. The road will reopen on Monday, September 26 at 7 a.m.

Motorists should plan alternate routes for travel in this area, both day and night, over the weekend. There will continue to be access to businesses on S. Holmes Avenue from the side streets.

Please watch for equipment and workers, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits.

We appreciate the community’s continued patience throughout this construction project.

On Monday, June 13, HK Contactors began working on the waterline replacement project on S. Holmes Avenue from 1st Street to Cleveland Street. The project includes replacement of water, storm and sewer systems; curb, gutter and utility crossings; sidewalk repair at the utility crossings; base gravel; and asphalt paving.

For questions, contact HK Contractors at (208) 523-6600 or the City of Idaho Falls Public Works Department at (208) 612-8250.

Additional information on City of Idaho Falls construction projects can be found on the homepage of the city’s website or by clicking HERE.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls:  Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Idaho Falls Zoo Welcomes Baby Guanaco to Zoo Family

Idaho Falls, ID – Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park is proud to announce an addition to the animal family with the birth of a guanaco on Tuesday, September 20.

The new baby, also known as a chulengo, is a female. Zoo officials knew the mother was expecting her fourth chulengo. To the delight of some visitors who were in the right place at the right time, she was born on exhibit and was walking within minutes after birth.

Baby guanaco has not been named yet and can be seen in the Patagonia area of the zoo with her mother, brother and aunt. The father is being housed off-exhibit as male guanacos can sometimes be aggressive toward newborns.

Guanacos are often confused as llamas with good reason. The guanaco is a member of the camelid family from South America, is the wild ancestor of the llama and is very similar in appearance to domestic llamas. Guanacos and llamas are cousins to camels – minus the humps.

Last admission to the zoo is at 4 p.m. and grounds close at 5 p.m. daily. Regular admission is just $7.50 for adults (ages 13-61), $6 for seniors (62+), $4.50 for children (ages 4-12). Children 3 and under are free.  For more information visit the zoo online.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with zoo staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Zoo at Tautphaus Park:   With more than 330 individual animals representing 130 species from all around the globe, the Idaho Falls Zoo has the largest collection of animals in the state of Idaho and is considered the “Best Little Zoo in the West.” Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the zoo participates in 44 national Species Survival Plans. Learn more on our website.

Municipal Services Closed for Software Upgrades

Idaho Falls, ID – The city’s Municipal Services Department, to include the treasurer’s office, utilities office, and credit office will be closed on Friday, September 30 for software upgrades.  The offices will reopen on Monday, October 3.

Customers will not be able to make online utility payments beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, September 29 until 8:00 a.m. on Monday, October 3. Customers are encouraged to plan utility bill payments accordingly.

The process of upgrading the software began three years ago when city officials began evaluating software companies that could provide much-needed upgrades in the customer information, utility billing and financial management software. Cayenta was selected to provide a much more robust work management system, user interface, functionality and GIS (Geographic Information System) integration.

The city has been planning for and implementing the Cayenta system internally over the past two years and is now ready to launch the new program for its customers.

“The amount of time, expertise and work involved with this software implementation has been extensive,” states Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper. “Many of the employees involved with this project have pulled double duty for over a year now to make this happen. I can’t thank them enough for their dedication to this project,” adds Casper.

For customers, the new system will save time and effort by providing more payment options such as paperless billing, auto pay by credit card and payment by phone.  Customers already enrolled in level pay – now known as budget billing – and auto pay by bank draft will automatically be enrolled in the same programs in the new system.

“The city’s former AS/400 software was written in-house over thirty years ago and has served the city well, but the antiquated system could no longer be updated to serve our increasing customer service and financial management needs,” states Thane Sparks, Chief Information Technology Officer. “While the majority of the changes will be recognized by staff on the back end, customers will see a difference in the appearance of their utility bills,” explains Sparks.

We appreciate the community’s patience during this transition,” states Municipal Services Director, Pamela Alexander. “In an effort to make the changes as seamless as possible for customers, we will have staff available 24/7 to answer billing questions or concerns,” adds Alexander.

The 24/7 customer service line can be reached at (208) 612-8430. Frequently asked questions can be reviewed online. Two videos to assist customers with registration and navigation for the new Customer Self-Service (CSS) portal will be made available on the website and the City of Idaho Falls’ and Idaho Falls Power’s social media pages next week.

Customers will be able to register for the new CSS web portal after October 3 by clicking on the Pay Your Bill link on the homepage of the city’s website or through the Idaho Falls Power webpage. Payment options can also be changed after October 3 by going online; contacting the utilities office, during regular business hours at (208) 612-8280; visiting City Hall at 308 Constitution Way; or via email at ifpinfo@ifpower.org.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls:  Situated along the Snake River at the western edge of the world famous Rocky Mountains, Idaho Falls has all the features of big city living, but embraces a small town charm. Our skyline consists of the majestic Teton Mountain Range, and in our backyard is the world’s most famous national park – Yellowstone. As the regional center for healthcare, science & technology, shopping and entertainment, Idaho Falls is an attractive location for small and large businesses alike. Idaho Falls consistently finds itself listed in the top ten rankings of many prestigious magazines, newspapers and professional community research publications.  Learn more on our website.

Old Lower Hydropower Plant Restored to Normal Operations

Idaho Falls, ID – A ribbon cutting will be held at Idaho Falls Power’s (IFP) Old Lower Plant on Thursday, September 22 at 11:00 a.m. to celebrate the plant returning to normal operations after being offline for five years for an extensive rebuild project.

The plant, which consists of two turbines with a nameplate capacity of 1.87 megawatts each, dates back to the 1930s when Utah Power and Light constructed the plant. The city purchased the plant, located just west of the intersection of Yellowstone Avenue and Sunnyside Road, in the late 1930s and added a third, 8 megawatt capacity turbine in the 1980s.

Since the early 1980s, the Old Lower Plant units typically operated during peak runoff to augment power production when river flows surpassed the hydraulic capacity of the new bulb turbine and typically operated four to eight weeks of the year. The Old Lower Plant will now be able to operate more than it did in the past due to the efficiency of the new modern turbines and the new governor system. This next year, the Old Lower Plant will be tested to understand how much additional generation can be achieved, particularly during low flow periods. Approximately 10 percent capacity improvement is anticipated.

This project included rewinding both generators, two new turbines, a new substation transformer, new modern electrical protection and controls, and a hybrid of new and rebuilt governor system, totaling $7.2 million.

The repairs are expected to extend the life of the plant at least another 75 years. Idaho Falls Power has the capability of generating approximately 55 megawatts at its now five hydropower facilities – City Plant, Upper Plant, Lower Plant and Gem State. A megawatt can power up to 1,200 homes.  On average, Idaho Falls Power’s hydropower plants provide about a third of the city’s electricity needs.

Idaho Falls Power would like to invite the public to continue the public power celebration at their annual Open House event on Saturday, September 24 from noon to 4 p.m. at Idaho Falls Power, 140 S. Capital.  This free, family-friendly event will include bucket truck rides, food, live music by Kaleidoscope, jump houses, face painting, safety and fiber splicing demonstrations, tours of the bulb turbine at IFP’s headquarters and tours of the recently rebuilt Old Lower Plant.

Did you know? Idaho Falls Power is also celebrating ten years of providing high speed broadband access to the business community over the Idaho Falls fiber network.

Photo: Installing the stator for Unit 1.

Media Note: For more information or to schedule an interview with city staff, contact Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon.

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About Idaho Falls Power:  Idaho Falls Power is a municipal electric utility serving the corporate city limits of Idaho Falls, Idaho. The City has operated the utility continuously since its establishment in 1900. Learn more on our website.