Road & Bridge Overview
Bingham County currently maintains more than 1,228 miles of road (56 Percent are paved). 188 large bridges (with spans greater than 20 feet), and approximately 140 small bridges
(with spans less than 20 feet). Bingham County Road and Bridge is involved in the coordination of all County transportation facilities. The primatry focus of Bingham County Road and Bridge is maintenance and safety.
Bingham County has a Road and Bridge Shop located on the edge of Blackfoot and two satelite shops located in Shelley and Springfield. The maintenance shops are responsible for maintaining all county vehicles except the Sheriff's vehicles. mechanics inspect and perform routine maintenance on all passenger vehicles.
The County has implemented a seven-year rotation for seal coating the paved roads. To maintain this schedule, the County must sealcoat 89 to 90 miles of road each year, and have the necessary equipment available to undertake the work load.
Additional maintenance of the paved roads includes mowing weeds that grow on the shoulders and fore-slopes at least once per year. The County has a target of mowing shoulders along all paved roads twice each year.
Unpaved roads are maintained by grading a minimum of once a year and more frequently on higher traveled roads with the exception of the mountain roads in the eastern portion of the County. The weeds are mowed along th eshoulders a minimum of onece per year. Additional gravel is placed on the roads when needed. Each year County forces convert a number of graveled roads to paved roads. Typically between five and ten miles of gravel road receive new pavement each year.
Bingham County Road and Bridge has the following road priorities for snow removal:
First: High volume arterial roads; sanding of high volume intersections, railroad crossings, school approaches, sharp curves, steep grades.
Second: High to medium traveled collector roads including school bus routes.
Third: Low volume local roads, primarily sub division roads, secondary roads and areas for recreation.
The normal snow removal process includes the following:
1. Monitor weather forecasts to anticipate the potential size and duration of expected storms.
2. During severe winter storms with high winds and/or minimal visibility, no equipment is mobilized until conditions improve to the point that snow removal operations don't endanger the operators, equipment or the public. Waiting until after the storm or the end of the storm does not undo the snow removal efforts of the plows.
3. Remove as much snow and ice as possible from the road surface. This may take several days and may also include "widening" the roadway (pushing the snow to the limits of the right-of-way).
Road and Bridge will not remove snow from private roads and driveways including those portions in the public right-of-way.
Obstructions - Roadway obstructions present a serious hazard for equipment operators. Obstructions can include landscaping, mailboxes, parked vehicles or piled snow from a residence or business. Road and Bridge will not assume any responsibility for damage to landscaping located in the right-of-way or mailboxes located too close to the roadway. Property owners who create obstructions in the public right-of-way can be issued a citation from the Sheriff's Office and could be liable for any injuries or damages occurring because of the obstruction.
Obstructions in a public right-of-way present a safety hazard to the traveling public and Road and Bridge crews trying to maintain the county road. Obstructions can include landscaping, piles of rock, earth or snow, yard debris, brick mailboxes, signs and trenches among other things.
Fines for Violations - Idaho Code Section 18-3907 authorizes the Sheriff to issue a citation to anyone:...who obstructs, injures or damages any public road...". Violation of this law is punishable by up to six months in jail and / or a $300.00 fine. Property owners creating the obstruction may also be liable for any injury or damage attributable to the hazard.
Traffic volumes in Bingham County are generally light enough to provide an exceptional level of service on the existing roadways. One area of concern for both Blackfoot and Bingham County has been congestion within Blackfoot near the freeway interchange and the intersection of U.S. 26. This is on the I-15 business loop. This congestion is manifest between the signalized intersection of Bergener and Parkway in Blackfoot to the intersection of Highway 26 and Highway 39.
One suggested solution to relieve this congestion is to create a bypass route (the East-West Alternate Route) for motorists that would connect U.S. 26 with U.S. 91 north of Blackfoot. This route will need to cross both the Snake River and Interstate I-15. The most logical crossing of the interstate would be at the Rose-Firth interchange. The west side of this connection would cross the Snake River and intersect with U.S. 91 at Wapello-Fith Road. The eastern connection would travel in the vicinity of Lambert Road and connect to U.S. 26 at the Moreland Road intersection or possibly at the intersection with Wilson Road.
The East-West Alternate Route would be beneficial of the County transportation network.