Eagle’s Salmon rescue, response to POE car fire show ITD concern for public safety

A few recent incidents highlight the safety role of Idaho Transportation Department workers in their everyday jobs, serving the citizens of Idaho. Here are a few of those stories:

Eagle’s Salmon rescue sheds light on fire-extinguisher checks

Like cellphones, or most of us after a few late nights in a row, fire extinguishers need to be recharged periodically to be at their full potential. That was never more evident than the morning of August 7, as ITD Salmon Maintenance Foreman Jeff Eagle raced to an overturned vehicle on US-93 and a young girl screaming for help inside.

He was her only hope at the moment, but even as he ran, he had to wonder if his fire extinguisher would even work.

On that Tuesday morning, Jeff started the day thinking about a sign installation. On his way back to Salmon, however, he glanced in his rear view mirror and witnessed a car over-correcting as it went off the road a few hundred feet behind him. The car came back across the roadway, but luckily there was no oncoming traffic. The car rolled.

“It was the most violent vehicle rollover I have ever witnessed,” said Eagle. “It went airborne and rolled at least 5 or 6 times and landed on its side against a landowner’s fence in an irrigation ditch.”

Eagle stopped and turned around to help. As the first one on the scene, he called StateComm and asked for an ambulance and sheriff to assist.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when I ran to the vehicle. When I came upon the car, it was severely damaged and crushed. I couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was. What I saw next was horrifying. There was a young girl pinned under the rear axle of the car. She was awake but screaming. I tried to comfort her as well as I could.”

He then realized the engine was still running.

“I couldn’t believe there was still an engine left in the car. I had to shut the engine off before it caught fire. There was no one else involved in the wreck, so I tried to get my arm through the car window to shut off the engine. It was difficult and the key was bent, so my first attempt failed.”

With his adrenaline kicked in, the second attempt to turn the engine off was successful. “I was able to turn the key just enough to shut it off,” Eagle explained.

“I was somewhat relieved, but also knew it could still catch on fire from the hot engine. Then the second thought hit me.’ I HAVE NEVER CHECKED THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN MY ITD PICKUP TO SEE IF IT WAS STILL CHARGED.'”

“What would I have been able to do if the car would have caught on fire with that young girl pinned under it? Fortunately, it did not and my fire extinguisher was charged. What a break.”

“We have always been fairly good about checking the fire extinguishers in the buildings, but we need to be more diligent in checking the ones in the equipment and other vehicles in case we are put into this circumstance while doing our jobs.”

District 6 Safety Compliance Officer Ron Butler explained that fire extinguishers are checked annually and tested as needed. This year, we found six trucks, three loaders, and several pickups or cars with fire extinguishers that needed to be recharged. They had not been used, but had leaked off anyway.

“We try to get to all vehicles and buildings, but often miss a few because they are out on job sites, so check your extinguishers and if they don’t have a 2017 tag on them, change them out so you know you have a good working unit,” he added.

Eagle concurs.

“It only takes a minute. It would not hurt to have a fire extinguisher in our personal vehicles also,” he said.

Note: Eagle said the girl didn’t have to be Life Flighted from the scene, thank goodness!

 

East & West Boise POE inspectors help tame car fire Aug. 2          

ITD Port of Entry inspectors from the East and West Boise facilities collaborated to put out a car fire at the port on Aug. 2, with help from a couple of truck drivers.

Inspector Kyle Perkins spotted a car on fire from the shoulder of Interstate 84 just past the East Boise Port of Entry, and alerted Port of Entry inspectors on the westbound side. Devin Dascenzo, April Jordan, and Jeff Butler. Inspector Scott Conrad was already in route to the car fire from the east port.

Dascenzo and Butler grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran up the westbound ramp to the car fire, while April closed down the westbound port. By the time Devin and Jeff arrived, Conrad had already exhausted a pair of fire extinguishers from the port car. Two truck drivers stopped and added their own fire extinguishers to help tame the blaze.

Jeff and Devin sat up cones to keep interstate traffic away from the shoulder without closing down a lane of traffic, and then helped the driver gather as many of his personal items from the car as possible. Once fire responders left the scene, port personnel made sure a tow truck was in route.

The quick reaction helped prevent injury to the driver, stopped a potential wildfire and kept traffic safely moving.

 

Ah Yee’s parking premonition proves prophetic          

An observant employee’s decision to park a truck in mid-June kept north Idaho drivers safe.

Chance Ah Yee, an ITD Port of Entry Inspector at the Huetter POE, noticed that a driver was slow in his response to questions. The driver was having real difficulty. Chance became concerned.

The driver said that he had been sick for the past week and was feeling fatigued. To protect the traveling public and the driver, Chance ordered the driver to park his rig.

A month later the driver contacted the Huetter Port of Entry to thank Chance. The driver had suffered a stroke just one day after Ah Yee ordered the truck parked.

“Chance did a great job of sensing something was wrong and using his discretion to prevent a potential accident,” said ITD Compliance Manager Reymundo Rodriguez.

Construction near New Plymouth will provide safety improvements at ID-72/US-30 intersection

The Idaho Transportation Department will enhance safety at the intersection of Idaho Highway 72 and US-30 during late September and October.

Crews will reconfigure the intersection to a more common, “t-type” intersection. This will eliminate the free-running movement on ID-72.

During construction, US-30 will be reduced to one lane with temporary traffic signals in place to control traffic.  Delays of up to 15 minutes are possible.  During the same timeframe, ID-72 will be closed to thru traffic.

ID-72 traffic will be detoured one mile south to SE 2nd Avenue. Truck traffic will be detoured to US-30, Interstate 84, and Sand Hollow Road. Detours will be clearly posted and also available at 511.idaho.gov.

Crews will work daytime hours Monday through Saturday. The project will be complete in late October.

Langley Gulch Culvert Replacement

During the same timeframe, ITD will replace an aging culvert near Langley Gulch on ID-72 near the intersection work and within the existing work zone.

For more information on this project, as well as a full construction list for southwest Idaho, please visit itd.Idaho.gov/D3.

Construction on Idaho State Highway 55 between Caldwell and Nampa will begin Aug. 8

ID 55 Construction

BOISE – Motorists can expect daytime lane restrictions, speed reductions and intermittent detours during construction this summer and fall.

The project includes repaving Idaho 55 between Pride Lane in Caldwell and Middleton Road in Nampa and improving the intersections at Farmway Road, Lake Avenue and Midway Road.

Each intersection will be widened to include five lanes on Idaho 55 and three lanes on local roads. ITD will install a new traffic signal at Farmway and Midway roads and replace the traffic signal at Lake Avenue.

“The best way to learn about traffic restrictions is to sign up for emails from ITD,” said ITD Construction Coordinator Merrill Sharp.  “The work schedule may change based on factors such as weather and utility work. We will send regular updates about what motorists can expect each week.”

ID55 Map 08_17

Map of construction zone for Idaho 55. Work begins Aug. 8.

 

During construction, lanes on ID-55 will be restricted during the day and the speed limit will be reduced. Traffic may be detoured around each intersection for several days.

The initial weeks of construction include widening the Farmway Road and Lake Avenue intersections and paving Idaho 55 between Pride Lane and Farmway Road.

“When complete, this project is expected to bring significant safety benefits for the 10,000 motorists who travel this stretch each day,” said Sharp. “While the road is under construction, however, we are asking motorists to plan ahead and expect delays.”

Construction details also will be posted to itd.idaho.gov/d3. To sign up for updates, text IDAHO55 to 22828 or email Jennifer.Gonzalez@itd.idaho.gov

Construction to begin on I-84 exit 90 ramps near Mountain Home

crews rebuild road ramp

MOUNTAIN HOME – Construction on the I-84 Business Loop outside Mountain Home continues and will move to the westbound on- and off-ramps for Interstate 84 at Exit 90.

The complete rebuild of the ramps is expected to start Monday, July 24. Crews will be working during the day so the traveling public is advised to use caution while driving in the project zone. Construction on this section is expected to last three weeks.

During this time, the westbound off-ramp will be closed to traffic. Vehicles wider than 11 feet will not be allowed on the westbound on-ramp. Detours will be in place and all traffic is advised to use Exit 95. The speed limit will also be reduced to 45 mph.

This is the next phase of a project that is rebuilding the ramps and a roughly one-mile stretch of the I-84 Business Loop (Old U.S. 30). Sunroc Corp. is the contractor for this $2.4 million project.

Note: Previously, the westbound off-ramp was planned to stay open with width and length restrictions. Plans have been revised to close the ramp altogether.

Amy Schroeder selected to head up next GARVEE program

Amy Schroeder, manager of the recent award-winning, $857 million Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) Program, will return to lead the next round of GARVEE bonding approved by the Idaho Legislature during their recent 2017 session.

The legislature approved up to $300 million in bonding this time around. The first piece is the I-84 expansion between the Franklin Blvd. and Karcher Interchange in Nampa.

The original GARVEE program wrapped up in 2015, after a decade of investment in the state’s roads and bridges unprecedented in scope since the interstate system was built through Idaho in the 1960s. GARVEE allowed Idaho to invest in highway improvement projects in six corridors throughout the state, starting in 2006.

The 59 GARVEE projects were delivered without any delay to the regular construction program.

GARVEE projects also were delivered at an accelerated pace and at lower costs than anticipated. Funding the necessary improvements would have taken 30 years under the existing pay-as-you-go method. This enabled motorists to use the roads and bridges earlier and enhanced the state’s commerce and commercial transportation.

Schroeder has been with ITD’s District 3 office serving the 10 southwest Idaho counties as the Engineering Manager since 2011. She will be leaving D3 and returning to ITD Headquarters to manage the program. The transition period has yet to be decided. Schroeder will continue to work closely with D3 on Interstate 84 work, and possibly other district priorities, depending upon what the Idaho Transportation Board decides to do with the remaining bonding authority.

“I’m honored to be selected and get to work addressing needs in critical corridors,” Schroeder said.

“The initial GARVEE Program showed the traveling public that the department can and will deliver on its commitments. The success of GARVEE also translated into a level of trust within the legislature, and that was the catalyst for the additional bonding authority,” she added.

“Amy is very experienced in complex projects and with the demands of the GARVEE program,” said ITD Chief Deputy Scott Stokes. “Her experience fits perfectly with what the state of Idaho needs to deliver projects quickly on this high-profile program.”

“Amy is also very experienced in finding innovations and solutions that are unique that help ITD, not only in the GARVEE program, but also statewide in other projects and districts,” he added.

“Like most ITD projects, success will involve a team effort with unified vision. Amy can find and unify the resources needed for this challenging program to be successful.“

I-84 resurfacing between Nampa and Caldwell begins

I-84 Repaving Map

BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Department will begin initial construction activities next week on a summer project to resurface deteriorated pavement on Interstate 84 between Nampa and Caldwell.

ITD will share details about construction activities and sequencing at a community open house Thursday, May 25 at the Hampton Inn at 5770 Franklin Road in Nampa. Community members are invited to come at their convenience from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

ITD is using weekend and nighttime traffic control to minimize traffic impacts during the weekday commute.

During four weekends this summer, ITD will shift all I-84 traffic to one side of the interstate (eastbound or westbound) while crews work on the other side. On these four weekends, one lane of traffic will be open in both directions between Nampa and Caldwell from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. All lanes of I-84 will be open during the weekday.

Check out the project website here.

Final weekend dates will be scheduled based on factors such as traffic counts, weather predictions, equipment and materials availability, and the project schedule.

Community members may request email notification of the weekend dates by texting INTERSTATE84 to 22828. ITD will announce exact dates as soon as they are scheduled.

Other traffic impacts for the project will include occasional nighttime lane restrictions, shoulder closures and speed-limit reductions. The project includes resurfacing I-84, the Northside Boulevard interchange ramps and two ramps at the Franklin Boulevard Interchange. Guardrails will be improved throughout the project area.

Idaho Materials Construction is the contractor for this $9.5 million project.

Flooding sends debris crashing into bridges

Bridge Snag Removal

ITD crews in the Treasure Valley are on high alert around the clock as prolonged flooding sends debris down river, creating blockages on bridges.

Entire trees have been uprooted by Boise River flows that well exceed the average. Currently, the river is at 8800 cfs at the Glenwood St. measuring station. This brings the water level close to the bottom of the bridge. You can watch a video of crews clearing debris from the ID-52 bridge in Emmett below.

Increased debris and higher water levels create more hazards to bridges. Branches can catch on the supports or bridge girders, which can lead to a domino affect of accumulating debris. This debris can raise the river levels more and adds pressure to the bridge supports. Left unchecked, this could lead to catastrophic failure.

To combat this threat, ITD has crews monitoring the bridges. They routinely check for debris build up and signs of stress on the bridge. Several excavators are also parked by bridges, which can be used quickly to break up any build up.

By patrolling regularly and stationing equipment nearby for ready use, ITD is positioned to keep this year’s record flooding from causing disaster to our road system.

Idaho Transportation Board moving ahead with I-84 work via GARVEE

Garrity Interchange

The Idaho Transportation Board has approved funding to repair and add lanes on Interstate 84 between Franklin Boulevard and Karcher Road in Nampa in order to reduce congestion and improve safety in the region.

In a unanimous decision, the board approved $150 million in GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle) bonds. This allows the department to advance a widening project to reconstruct existing lanes, add a third lane in each direction, and upgrade bridges between Franklin and Karcher.

“We recognize this I-84 corridor presents immediate safety and congestion concerns,” said chairman of the board Jerry Whitehead. “ITD engineers have shown a readiness to tackle the project and the board supports moving quickly to improve this section of road.”

This Franklin to Karcher project is moving fast, thanks to ITD staff completing initial planning and environmental assessment.

“We have known this corridor is a top concern that affects all of Idaho,” said ITD Director Brian Ness. “By adding lane miles, we can move more goods and services to businesses while reducing crashes. We thank the board for the opportunity to move forward as quickly as possible on this project.”

The $150 million authorization from the board is only half of the amount lawmakers allotted with Senate Bill 1206. Board members are reviewing other authorized corridors the bill outlined for GARVEE bonds.

“As we determine which projects to prioritize, we need the best information on all applicable corridors,” said Whitehead. “We look forward to getting that data from ITD engineers and moving forward in future board meetings.”

In future board meetings, the members will consider how best to spend the other revenue streams lawmakers created this year. That includes the surplus eliminator, one percent of sales tax, and a portion of the cigarette tax.

Bridge replacements and pavement rehabilitation to begin on U.S. 95 near Parma in mid-April

Parma Bridge U.S. 95

Reconstruction of two bridges on U.S. 95 in Parma will begin in mid-April.

Work will occur at the junction of U.S. 95 and U.S. 20/26 and include the reconstruction of the Union Pacific Railroad overpass, Sand Hollow Creek Bridge and nearby pavement rehabilitation.

*The project is scheduled to be complete this winter.

*A posted detour will be in place during the project. A separate truck detour will also be posted. The speed limited will be reduced to 45 mph in the work zone. The speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph on U.S. 20/26 when shoulder or median work is occurring. Flaggers will assist motorists through the work zone during different phases of the project.

*Most work will occur Monday through Friday, and some Saturdays.

Motorists are encouraged to check 511.idaho.gov for construction updates and detour information. For a full list of construction projects scheduled to begin across southwest Idaho, please visit our website at itd.idaho.gov/d3 and click on the construction tab. Some updates will also appear on Twitter and Facebook.

With nearly 45 projects scheduled across the region this year, please plan ahead, slow down, and give yourself enough time when traveling through each work zone.

Nampa Road Closure Alert: Section of Karcher Road to close Feb. 24-27

Karcher Road between Midway Road and Lake Avenue in Nampa will close at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24 and reopen at 5 a.m. Monday, Feb. 27. Flaggers will direct traffic through a detour route.

During the detour, motorists traveling east on Karcher Road will turn south on Lake Avenue, east on Orchard Street and north on Midway Road back to Karcher Road. Motorists traveling west on Karcher Road will turn north on Midway Road, west on Homedale Road and south on Lake Avenue back to Karcher Road.

Truck traffic will be directed to use Farmway Road and Interstate 84 to avoid the closure.

ITD needs to replace the Isaiah drain pipe that runs under Karcher Road before making future improvements to the roadway later this year.

Questions or comments about the project can be directed to Jennifer Gonzalez at (208) 334-8938 or Jennifer.gonzalez@itd.idaho.gov.