POCATELLO, Idaho (KLIX) – If you plan to travel Interstate 15 in eastern Idaho this summer, you’re likely to encounter road construction. But don’t let the orange cones spoil your plans. The Idaho Transportation Department now has an app available for mobile devices that lets users know expected travel times.

Handy, right?

The app shows current travel times on I-15 between Utah and Montana, U.S. 91 from Chubbuck to Idaho Falls and U.S. 20 from Idaho Falls to West Yellowstone. The app also provides estimated travel times and an option to sign up for construction alerts. Information in the app is based on real-time traffic data collected through Bluetooth sensors on I-15, U.S. 20 and U.S. 91.

ITD says the personal information on phones won’t be collected when highway sensors digitally log distances.

Earlier this year ITD placed 61 sensors along the three eastern Idaho routes. Each sensor detects when a Bluetooth device crosses its path. Once the Bluetooth device reaches the next sensor, ITD logs the travel time between the two points. The process happens without collecting personal data.

"The technology enables us to reliably predict times of the week with heavy traffic volumes," said ITD District 5 Engineering Manager Dan Harelson. "For example, traffic tends to peak on Thursday and Friday afternoons and mid-day Saturday. From Sunday to Wednesday, traffic delays are limited to a few minutes except for the afternoon rush hour."

Oleksiy Mark/ThinkStock

Plan to see construction on the highway for the better part of several years, according to the department. ITD plans to resurface deteriorated pavement and repair a number of bridges on I-15 between the Utah and Montana borders.

The department considers the new app, available for download at the App Store and Google Play, a boon for travelers.

"This technology and its information provided by ITD will assist not only our members but also the tour operators to plan ahead for possible construction delays," said Tom Walsh, chairman of the Yellowstone-Teton Territory tourism organization. "The mobile app will be an extremely helpful tool for both residents and out-of-state travelers."

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