As Rexburg prepares for another winter season, the city discusses plans for construction for the new year and prepares current construction projects for the snow.
Alan Parkinson, Rexburg’s planning and zoning director, confirmed that coffee shops Starbucks and Dutch Bros have been approved by the Rexburg Planning and Zoning Commission.
Starbucks is currently under construction and is located on University Boulevard next to Applebee’s. While there is no official opening date announced for Starbucks, Parkinson suggests it could be finished as early as this winter.
“Right now I’m imagining Starbucks is going to open in the winter,” Parkinson said, “because they’ve done all their paving, curbing, gutter … So they’re just closing in building and once that’s done they can continue (interior work) until they’re ready.”
Dutch Bros is still in the early planning stages of construction, and it’s been approved to be built on Main Street near the Maverick gas station. Parkinson estimates Dutch Bros will be approved to start construction before the end of the year.
“One of the biggest issues that’s going to face not just students, but all of us, (is) all three of these overpasses are going to be reworked next year,” Parkinson said. “Both the south exit, University Boulevard, and Highway 33 are going to have what’s called a diverging diamond.”
According to the Idaho Department of Transportation projects website, the goal of incorporating the diverging diamond interchange (DDI) road design is to “increase safety by improving traffic flow” and “reduce delay times between now and 2045.”
Because US-20 is the main transportation corridor for the area, it is expected the traffic will continue to grow to exponential delays in the coming years. The DDI is the proposed solution to the problem.
“The state has actually awarded the bid for next year,” Parkinson said, “but they can’t start until they have all of the equipment here … Because there’s such a supply chain demand right now, sometimes it’s six to ten months before they can get product.”
The Idaho Transportation Department expects to begin initial work in spring 2024 and move into full construction during summer. Each interchange will be fully closed at different times to complete construction faster and improve safety for the construction workers. The University Boulevard exit is expected to be fully closed during the 7-week break between semesters at BYU-Idaho to minimize its impact on the community.
For more information on the US-20 interchange construction plans or to contact the project team, see the digital project plan presentation here.
Although BYU-I in-person enrollment is dropping, student housing continues to grow as multiple complexes are currently under construction or have plans to build. A new housing complex with 360 units for married students has been approved to be built on the plat across from Stone’s Town and Country Motors on Yellowstone Highway.
“I mean, college has been a big part of the demand that drives what’s going on in the city,” Parkinson said. “Student housing and their requirements, for restaurants, for places to buy stuff and everything else they need. That is the major factor that drives Rexburg.”
Visit the website for the city of Rexburg here for more information on the Planning and Zoning Commission and when they meet.