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) ​untilthey’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.”

Diagram of a diverging diamond interchange.

Diagram of a diverging diamond interchange. Photo credit: Idaho Transportation Department

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.

Starbucks will be located next to Applebee's on University Boulevard.

Starbucks will be located next to Applebee's on University Boulevard. Photo credit: Gabriela Fletcher

“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.