New traffic-tracker tool from ITD shows significant decline in vehicle trips on Idaho highways

Screenshot of the traffic tracker tool

The Idaho Transportation Department has launched a new traffic-tracking tool that allows government agencies, emergency services, and the public to see the latest changes in driver behavior on Idaho highways.

You can access the tool at: http://iplan.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/516d5001a04246c388bdf20cda9d93db?filter=1

The tool uses preliminary data to provide information faster in an easy-to-understand format. This information can help government leaders gauge ongoing economic activity. Emergency services can look to ensure critical transportation routes remain open.

“Traffic data like this is desired by numerous groups,” said Margaret Pridmore, Roadway Data Manager for ITD. “This will provide information closer to real-time than our traditional measurements. That information is helpful as decision-makers navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Early results have shown a decline in travel across the state. For example, the week after COVID-19 was first confirmed in Idaho, there was an estimated 30% drop in trips on the I-184 connector. Following the stay-home order from Governor Brad Little, traffic dropped an additional estimated 26% at that location.

“One interesting thing we observed occurred in Eastern Idaho. While traffic volumes typically decreased in the days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Idaho, I-15 traffic increased for several days. Personnel in those districts observed a lot of Canadians heading home in fear that the US-Canada border could be closed in the near future.”

The data is not as thoroughly vetted for quality as normal, meaning some abnormalities may arise. However, Pridmore is leading a team to provide the best quality information on a short deadline as can be achieved. The information is updated within 72 hours of the data being received.

ITD responds to 6.5 magnitude earthquake

two landslides fell across idaho highway 21

ITD maintenance and bridge personnel are cleaning up debris and inspecting infrastructure after a 6.5 magnitude earthquake shook the Idaho Central Mountains Tuesday night.

Several mountain highways saw rockfall on the roadway following the quake. That includes Idaho Highway 75 (ID-75) near Stanley, ID-21 north and south of Lowman, ID-55 between Horseshoe Bend and Cascade, and ID-52 east of Emmett. Maintenance crews were immediately deployed to clear these hazards from the roadway and ensure the road was safe for travel.

Aftershocks continue to rock the region, causing additional rockfall. Crews are patrolling these high-risk areas to actively clean rocks from the highway. ITD urges the traveling public to use caution when driving in these areas.

NO IMMEDIATE CONCERN FOR BRIDGES

After the earthquake, maintenance crews scanned bridge structures for damage. At this time, there has been no damage of concern noted and the highways remain open. As is always the case, if any issue is spotted, ITD will immediately close a bridge.

ITD’s Bridge Department is conducting more-detailed analysis of the situation. They are conducting additional analysis of structures closer to the earthquake’s epicenter. Over the next several weeks, inspections will be conducted on priority structures to determine whether damage has been done and repairs are needed.

IDAHO HIGHWAY 21 CLOSED BETWEEN LOWMAN AND STANLEY

A storm system dumped 27” of snow in the Canyon Creek section of Idaho Highway 21, from Grandjean to Banner Summit. This increased the risk of avalanches and ITD closed the highway at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, several hours before the earthquake.

The earthquake did cause several slides to fall onto the highway in this section. Crews entered the area to begin clean-up Tuesday night and quickly found the landslides were extensive. The crew contacted U.S. Geological Survey, which informed them of aftershocks and the risk of additional landslides. The crew withdrew and will remain out of the canyon until USGS has determined the risk of aftershocks is reduced.

At this time, the number and extent of landslides on this section are unknown. There is no timeframe when crews can re-enter the Canyon and begin clearing the road. Additional repairs to the roadway may be required as well. The Department is advising it may be many days before this section of ID-21 re-opens. Idaho Highway 75 and U.S. 93 remain open to access Stanley.

ONGOING ESSENTIAL SERVICES

Per Governor Brad Little’s Stay-Home Order, the ongoing maintenance and operation of roads are essential services and will continue during the COVID-19 pandemic. ITD crews will continue to respond to rockfall and other hazards created by the record earthquake. Additional essential services, such as plowing snow, pothole repair, and striping will also continue. The Department is committed to safely executing its Mission: “Your Safety. Your Mobility. Your Economic Opportunity.”

ITD issues 90-day extension on expiring credentials, encourages use of online services

To reduce large gatherings of people, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Motor Vehicle is instituting a 90-day extension on some credentials. The public is also encouraged to use the DMV’s online services rather than go to the county sheriffs’ and assessors’ offices for essential services.

The 90-day extension applies to driver’s licenses and non-commercial registration. If one of these credentials expires between March 1st and May 31st of 2020, you will have until June 30th 2020 to renew.  Many of these can be renewed online.

“As each county office decides the best way to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, ITD is committed to providing remote services online, by mail, or over the phone,” said ITD’s Division of Motor Vehicle Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “Much of the business the public needs to do with the DMV can be done through one of those methods. This balances the need to preserve public safety with the need for essential government services to keep people and products moving.”

County offices are managed by both the county sheriff’s office and county assessor’s office. In total, there are 88 county DMV jurisdictions. Each jurisdiction has the authority to close its offices or change the way to conduct business.

Some county DMV offices have already closed and others are considering it. ITD encourages the public to call their county office before leaving to see the current status. Contact information for each office can be found at itd.idaho.gov/itddmv.

The following services are available online, through mail, or over the phone.

  • Driver’s license renewal (not for first-time Star Card)
  • Acquiring a replacement driver’s license or identification card
  • Paying driver’s license reinstatement fees
  • Purchasing a driving record
  • Vehicle registration renewal
  • Ordering personalized license plates
  • Checking status of vehicle plates and titles
  • Commercial vehicle oversize/overweight permits
  • Commercial vehicle registrations

Please note, the Oct. 1, 2020 deadline to use a Star Card (Idaho’s REAL ID) or other federally-approved identification for federal security at airports, military bases, or federal courts is outside the control of the State of Idaho. ITD and the Governor’s Office is in communication with our Congressional Delegation, the Department of Homeland Security, and the White House regarding this matter in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overnight eastbound I-84 closure scheduled March 6 at Northside Boulevard (Exit 35)

The Idaho Transportation Department will implement a short-term overnight closure on eastbound I-84 at the Northside Interchange on Friday, March 6.

Beginning at 12 a.m. until 4 a.m., eastbound I-84 traffic will be detoured off the Interstate at Northside Boulevard (Exit 35). Traffic can use the interchange’s on-ramp to re-enter eastbound I-84. Travel will remain open on Northside Boulevard.

This closure will allow crews to safely perform roadway maintenance I-84. You can view a detour map below.

Map showing the detour on Northside Blvd.

For more information about the I-84 widening project, listen to the Drive Idaho podcast, visit itdprojects.org/84corridor or text 84CORRIDOR to 555888 to request construction updates. You can also contact ITD at 84corridor@itd.idaho.gov and (208) 334-8002.

Work between ID-78 and the C-Line Canal will begin Monday, Feb.3

Bridge over the Snake River

On Monday, Feb. 3, both lanes of traffic on Idaho 55 in Marsing between Highway 78 and the C-Line Canal will shift to the south. The traffic shift will accommodate curb, gutter and sidewalk work to be done on the north.

Both lanes of traffic will remain open. Flaggers will assist traffic.

Work is expected to take approximately three weeks to complete.

Northside Boulevard detours scheduled Friday and Saturday nights during interchange girder placement

Construction on Northside Interchagne

NAMPA – Northside Boulevard will be closed overnight under I-84 Friday and Saturday (Jan. 31 and Feb 1) while crews place six steel girders for the I-84, Northside Interchange in Nampa.

Detour route for Northside Closure
Detour route for Northside closure

The girders will support the center half of the reconstructed interchange of I-84 and Northside Boulevard. Road closures will begin at 10 p.m. and will end at 7 a.m. each morning. One lane of I-84 will remain open in each direction. Flaggers will direct Northside Blvd. traffic through a detour route.

  • Southbound traffic on Northside Boulevard will be directed to enter westbound I-84, exit at the Karcher Road Interchange (Exit 33A), and travel eastbound on I-84 to access Northside Boulevard (Exit 35).
  • Northbound traffic on Northside Boulevard will be directed to enter eastbound I-84, exit at the Franklin Road Interchange (Exit 36) and travel westbound on I-84 to access Northside Boulevard (Exit 35).

“When completed in 2021, the new Northside Interchange bridge will be the longest single-span bridge in Idaho,” said Mark Campbell, ITD’s GARVEE project manager. “This is no small effort and we appreciate the patience of the traveling public.”

The girders will be delivered to the construction site in pieces and assembled in a closed lane of I-84. When assembled, each girder will be 5 feet, 10 inches tall and 220 feet long. The process will require close to 4,000 bolts and multiple large cranes.

ITD is replacing the Northside Interchange with a Single Point Urban Interchange for safer, more efficient travel. Work on the second half of the interchange bridge will begin later this year.

For more information about I-84 improvements in Canyon County, visit itdprojects.org/84corridor or listen to the Drive Idaho podcast.

ITD & Governor’s Office collaborate to promote Traffic Incident Safety Week awareness

 

Idaho Gov. Brad Little and ITD collaborated Tuesday, Nov. 12 to bring attention to the importance of traffic incident responders during National Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week.

Gov. Little signed a proclamation Tuesday recognizing the importance of traffic managers and incident responders.

Roadway incidents can occur at any time and may require law enforcement, fire, emergency medical services, tow operators and transportation workers. The ability for them to respond quickly is critical for protecting life and reducing secondary crashes.

“The traveling public can do their part to protect responders by driving in an engaged manner and moving over when incident responders are present,” Gov. Little said.

Traffic incident responders in Idaho contribute substantially to caring for victims in these crashes, and the quick clearance of our roadways increases mobility of the traveling public and has the added benefit of greatly enhancing safety on the highways.

Ground depression prompts partial closure on Myrtle Street in downtown Boise

Map of Myrtle Closure

11:45 a.m. Oct. 8

During boring operations along Myrtle Street in downtown Boise, a depression formed in a travel lane, prompting a partial closure of the road.

Currently, the right-most lane of Myrtle Street is closed between 2nd and 4th Street. ITD crews are on site investigating the situation and developing a response. Motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians are urged to use caution while traveling in the area.

Updates will be posted here as additional information comes in.

2:00 p.m. Oct. 8

Crews investigating the depression in the road have found the cause to be a void in the earth beneath the roadway. This void is estimated to be 3-4 feet deep, and 8-14 feet wide, or about the width of a single travel lane.

The boring work being done in the area is to relocate utilities. Idaho Power received a permit from ITD to complete the work.

The contractor (Idaho Power) will rip up the road surface to survey the extent of the  void. Generally speaking, the next steps for the contractor will be to fill in the void with appropriate material and repave the roadway.

4:00 p.m. Oct. 8

Crews have opened up the road to survey the extent of the void. It ended up being less severe than anticipated. The void was no deeper than 18 inches and extended 14 feet wide. The contractor will spend the rest of the day filling in the void and laying a temporary asphalt patch to restore the surface of the road to a smooth driving surface. ITD has directed this work to be complete by 4:00 a.m. October 9th.

ITD will work with the contractor to complete extensive repairs and lay durable asphalt down at a later date.

9:00 a.m. Oct. 9 (final update)

The contractor worked overnight to repair the damage and patch the road with temporary asphalt. The lane was open before the morning rush hour. The contractor is working with ITD to plan a permanent repair at a later date with minimal impact to traffic.

Intersection closures and girder placement on ID-55 in Marsing Oct. 1, 2019

crane places girders for bridge

Several intersections on Idaho 55 will be closed beginning Oct. 1. Construction crews are placing concrete gutters along the roadway. Access at each intersection’s will remain closed for 2-3 days (weather permitting) while the concrete hardens.

What to expect:

  • All work will be done during daytime hours.
  • Work is anticipated to take approximately two weeks to complete (weather permitting).
  • Work will be conducted between Bruneau Hwy. to Edwards St. on the north; Bruneau Hwy. to 9th St. on the south.
  • Side streets will be closed to all traffic while work is being done and while concrete hardens. Closures will be staggered.
  • Major intersections will be reduced down to one lane, but will remain open at all times. Steel plates will be placed over the gutter work while concrete hardens.

Flaggers will assist with the gutter operations at the major intersections.

The contractor will be placing the next set of girders tonight, Oct. 1. What to expect:

  • ID-55 and the Snake River Bridge will be closed for up to 30 minutes each time one of the girders are being placed.
  • Sunny Slope Road southbound will be reduced to one lane between Lowell and True roads. The lanes will be restricted from noon to 2:00 am each night to stage the bridge girders.
  • Work will generally be done between 10:00 pm and 2:00 am.
  • The work will be noisy.

I-84 in Nampa will be detoured overnight Sept. 16-19 for work on Karcher Overpass

Karcher Overpass under Construction

Interstate 84 will be closed overnight between the Karcher/Midland and Northside interchanges on Monday, Sept. 16 through Thursday, Sept. 19. The closures will allow crews to safely remove the wooden forms that temporarily supported the new bridge deck this summer.

  • Westbound I-84 will be closed for two nights – Sept. 16 and Sept. 17. Each night I-84 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Eastbound I-84 will be closed for two nights – Sept. 18 and Sept. 19. Each night I-84 will be closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

During the four overnight closures, motorists will exit I-84 at Karcher/Midland or Northside and follow a detour along Karcher Road. Flaggers will direct traffic. View the detour map.

Lane restrictions and flaggers will also be in place on the Northside Boulevard between the ramps each night while crews begin to work on the new bridge.

The new Karcher Overpass is on schedule to re-open later this fall. Reconstruction of the Northside Interchange has begun and will continue through early 2021.

For more information about the reconstruction of I-84 in Canyon County, visit itdprojects.org/84Corridor. To receive construction updates; text 84corridor to 555888. “Drive Idaho,” ITD’s new podcast series on all things I-84 in Canyon County, is available for download on Spotify and Apple Podcast and other major podcast sharing sites.