March 21, 2008
Winter viewed through lens of past, present
A winter ride on the wild side
The blade drops, and the scraping sound adds to the brutish symphony. It’s man fighting back against the first “normal winter” in years. And it’s my first ride ever in this king of the road. Inside the cab, the interior is black and Spartan. We’re not talking touring comfort here. My passage is compliments of Lyle Holden, foreman of Area 650, who bargains to drive me from Sugar City to Tetonia and back.
Worst winter ever?
So you’re sick of winter and think the cold and snow can’t get much worse? Let me tell you about the "Great Winter" of 1948-49 that old timers still talk about. The central figure in my story is a man named Art Hoult, who was the Idaho Highway Department's maintenance supervisor for all federal and state highways from Raft River to Wyoming and from the Utah line to Montana.
Awards recognize employment milestones
Idaho Transportation Board member Monte McClure challenged employees to embrace innovation and continue looking for ways to do their jobs more efficiently. But the heart of his message during an employee awards ceremony at Headquarters Wednesday was a reminder of the important role employees play in the successes of their organization.
Ten employees embark on retirement
ITD employees who are still “practicing,” paused Wednesday to pay tribute to those who crossed the threshold into retirement. The semi-annual employee awards ceremony at Headquarters recognized 10 retirees, who combined for 277 years of service – an average of 27.7 years.
Avalanche claims life of ITD's Carl Corder
A native of the Clearwater Valley, Carl Corder loved the outdoors and exploring it from the seat of a snowmobile. ITD and District 2, along with the Orofino and Ahsahka communities lost their good friend after he was caught in a rogue avalanche Sunday (March 16) near Headquarters in north-central Idaho.
Safe Routes to School grants awarded
The Idaho Transportation Board Wednesday approved grants of $890,000 to 19 Idaho communities for projects designed to encourage students to walk and bicycle to school. The funds are part of the Safe Routes to School program, a federal initiative to encourage and enable children to safely walk and bicycle to school. The Idaho Transportation Department receives federal funds each year to distribute on a reimbursement basis for projects selected by the Safe Routes to School Advisory Committee.
A time for warm memories and fond farewells
Leaders in Idaho’s transportation community united for two hours Thursday to honor the achievements and contributions of retired Idaho Transportation Board member Jack Combo. The guest list included former Gov. Cecil D. Andrus and past ITD directors, representatives of the Federal Highway Administration, ITD employees, and a supportive family. Two of Combo’s children participated via teleconference.
Great assistance, insight in defense of lawsuit
Research project to inventories airfield history
Retirement and long winters in southeast Idaho enable Rodger Sorensen to combine two passions and produce a valuable historic resource. Sorensen, who is chairman of the Aeronautics Advisory Board, has long been interested in history and aviation. He is melding the interests into a comprehensive inventory of Idaho airfields – both past and present – with the intent of archiving the information and storing it on the transportation department’s Web site.
Avalanche mitigation program reduces Idaho 21 closures
Avalanche-related closures on Idaho 21 have been significantly reduced this winter through the use of explosives that bring down unstable snow before it slides and blocks the highway. The highway, one of Idaho's popular winter recreation routes and host to the vast majority of the state's avalanches, is typically closed 60 days per year. But this winter – one of he hardest in recent years – Idaho 21 has been closed just 28 days, largely because of ITD’s pre-emptive measures.
Volunteers help ITD overcome language barriers
An increasingly diverse society and work environment dictate that communication be available to constituents in a variety of formats. ITD is responding to the needs of its clients by offering language assistance on an impromptu basis for customers who do not speak English fluently. To help improve language services provided at Headquarters and District 3, Karen Sparkman generated an Intranet-based list of about 18 ITD employees who are available on a limited basis to help communicate with customers.
Idaho among nation's average for safety laws
Most states, including Idaho, earned average grades in a nationwide report card that tracks state progress toward enacting key traffic safety laws. The annual report was issued recently by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates). In its fifth annual report, the “2008 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws,” the group graded each state and the District of Columbia based on their adoption of 15 recommended traffic laws related to seat belts, child booster seats and motorcycle helmet use. It also evaluated efforts to strengthen teenage driving and impaired driving statutes.
Where Idaho laws fall short of safety ideals
The “2008 Roadmap to State Highway Safety Laws” report cards graded states on whether or not they adopted 15 model laws. Idaho falls short in the following areas: