BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Department is aware of the poor pavement condition on Broadway Avenue in Boise and is working to address the issue. Winter weather has accelerated the roadway surface separating from the pavement underneath, resulting in many large, shallow potholes.
ITD is working to address the pothole problem on an ongoing temporary basis, as well as with a permanent repair planned for this summer. The temporary repairs consist of filling the holes with “cold patch” material, but that has proven challenging as the potholes are shallow enough that the material quickly becomes displaced. None the less, maintenance crews will continue to target those potholes that will hold the patch material.
Permanent repairs will be performed once weather allows later this year. ITD is accepting bids to repave Broadway Avenue from I-84 to Beacon/East Park Boulevard. The project is scheduled to kick off this summer and will ultimately provide drivers with a new, smooth roadway surface.
ITD appreciates the public’s patience and is working diligently to start repaving Broadway Avenue as soon as possible.
BOISE- The Idaho Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and law enforcement partners across Idaho are joining forces to educate drivers and stop aggressive driving. From February 26 through March 11, expect to see extra officers focused on stopping dangerous, aggressive driving.
In 2022, preliminary data shows there were 14,002 aggressive driving crashes in Idaho. Last year 39 percent of all fatal crashes involved some form of aggressive driving behavior.
“When you hear the words aggressive driving, the first term that comes to mind for most people is road rage,” said Denise Dinnauer, the Aggressive Driving Program Manager for OHS. “But road rage is a criminal act on the extreme end of a wide array of behaviors. More people engage in aggressive driving than they may realize.”
Examples of aggressive driving include:
Driving too fast for conditions
Cutting in front of another driver and then slowing down
Failing to stop for red lights or stop signs
Failing to yield
Weaving in and out of traffic
Changing lanes without signaling
Blocking cars that are attempting to change lanes
Passing a vehicle on the wrong side of the road or on the shoulder
Screaming, honking, or flashing lights
Making hand gestures or facial expressions at other drivers
OHS encourages people to drive engaged and think critically about the effect that impulse, emotion, and impatience can have on their actions behind the wheel.
“We know Idahoans want to do the right thing, but people may not realize when they are slipping into aggressive driving behavior that they are putting lives at risk,” Dinnauer said. “We can all do our part to keep our roads safe and save lives.”
BOISE – Upgrade how you navigate the state! The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has launched a new Idaho 511 App and updated the website. Starting today, January 23, 2023, drivers will need to download a new version to their mobile devices. The web address, 511.idaho.gov, and phone number, dial 511, will stay the same.
The old Idaho 511 app and the Idaho 511 Trucking app will not be supported after today, and users could miss crucial travel information if they don’t switch over. There is no dedicated trucking app with the new system. However, the new app has trucking information settings that users can turn on
The new Idaho 511 app has all the same tools to help you plan your trips, plus additional features. The new app displays special events that might impact travel, seven-day weather forecasts, highway oasis locations, and more. You can create an account, save custom routes and sign up for notifications when your routes are impacted. If you had an account with the previous 511 system, you will need to make a new account to save routes and set up notifications.
511 is a public service of the Idaho Transportation Department to help travelers access information about road conditions, traffic incidents, weather, and tourism information via the phone, on the web, or by smartphone app, 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 511 provides continual updates about weather-related road conditions, road work, commercial vehicle restrictions, road closures, and other travel information.
Law enforcement will reduce speeds and temporarily block access to eastbound Interstate 84 between Nampa and Mountain Home Sunday, July 10 for the Idaho Patriot Thunder motorcycle ride. Up to 1,200 motorcyclists are expected to participate in the annual event.
The organized procession, escorted by Idaho State Police (ISP), will enter I-84 at Eagle Road (Exit 46) starting at 11 a.m. Prior to that start time, ISP will begin to slow eastbound I-84 traffic in Nampa at Northside Boulevard and restrict vehicles from entering the interstate.
As the group of riders approaches each eastbound on- and off-ramp, drivers will not be allowed to enter, join, or pass the motorcycle procession. Surface streets may also experience congestion as the procession passes.
ISP and multiple local law enforcement agencies within Canyon, Ada, and Elmore counties will monitor traffic conditions and I-84 access at the following interchanges prior to, during, and after the ride concludes in Mountain Home at approximately 12:30 p.m.
Temporarily blocked on-ramps include: Franklin Boulevard, Garrity Boulevard, Ten Mile Road, Meridian Road, Eagle Road, Franklin Road/Milwaukee Street, the I-184 Wye, Cole Road/Overland Road, Orchard Street, Vista Avenue, Broadway Avenue, Gowen Road, Eisenman Road, East Boise Rest Area, Blacks Creek Road, East Boise Port of Entry, Mayfield Road, Simco Road, I-84B/Old U.S. 30 Exit 90, and Exit 95 in Mountain Home.
Eastbound I-84 travelers should plan for short delays to allow the motorcyclists to safely ride along the interstate. The ride will end at Carl Miller Park in Mountain Home, and regular traffic flow will then resume. The Idaho Patriot Thunder Ride benefits the Idaho Guard & Reserve Family Support Fund and Operation Warm Heart. For more information, click here for the registration website.
As summer travel increases to Idaho’s mountain destinations, ITD’s Southwest Idaho office will also increase flagging resources at the busy State Highway 55 and Banks-Lowman Road intersection in Banks. ITD will flag traffic on the eight weekends expected to have the highest number of travelers due to local events and holidays. These weekends were selected in cooperation with a community working group involving Boise and Valley County community members.
Sunday, June 19
Independence Day, Monday, July 4
All remaining Sundays in July: 10, 17, 24, and 31
Sunday, August 7
Labor Day, Monday, September 5
Plan ahead for any road trip by checking 511.idaho.gov for the latest road conditions, and itdprojects.org for road construction work happening across the state. ITD asks drivers to please do your part to keep roads safe and prevent crashes. Slow down, drive engaged, and always buckle up.
SMITHS FERRY – Idaho State Highway 55 north of Smiths Ferry will reopen at noon on Monday, December 6. Travelers should be prepared for around 15 minute delays for the rest of the week, while crews continue additional construction activities to prepare the work zone for winter.
Stabilization work has been completed to fortify the hillside after more than 50,000 cubic yards of large boulders and dirt slid onto the roadway on November 18th. Construction crews built a 20-foot tall and 400-foot long rock wall to stabilize the area and are ready to open an interim road around the slide. Geotechnical experts have inspected the slide area and the contractor has completed the repairs to open for winter.
“The Department thanks the traveling public, Valley County residents, and the business community for their support and patience, as our crews worked tirelessly to stabilize this slide,” said ITD Engineering Manager, Jason Brinkman. “We know it’s been a long closure, but we have taken extensive steps to ensure safe travel through the work zone this winter.”
US-95 remains a viable alternate route for travel between Valley County and the Treasure Valley. The public can receive direct project updates by signing up for text or email alerts on the project website, itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry, or visit Idaho 511 before leaving on a trip to learn the latest highway conditions.
Update #7: 3:30 p.m. 11/28/2021
Idaho State Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley Road will remain closed another seven to 10 days depending on weather. Construction crews made significant progress today (Sunday, November 28) shoring up the rockslide area near the Rainbow Bridge about 20 miles south of Cascade, Idaho.
The crews completed construction of a rock structure, known as a buttress, approximately 20 feet tall and 400 feet long to stabilize the base of the slide. The next step is to remove slide debris, install drainage systems above the buttress and widen the roadway to two lanes before the winter.
“We have made very good progress and stabilized the slide area. This allows crews to remove excess rock from the hillside and begin building a two way road around the slide area,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “Our goal is to finish the work as quickly as possible while also focusing on both the safety of the construction team and the public once the road reopens.”
Until the highway is reopened, travelers can use U.S. Highway 95 as an alternate route.
The public can receive direct project updates by signing up for text or email alerts on the project website, itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry, or visit Idaho 511 before leaving on a trip to learn the latest highway conditions.
UPDATE #6: 1:30 P.M. 11/24/2021
Crews are making progress on the rock wall to secure the rockslide on SH-55 near Smiths Ferry. The road is still anticipated to be closed through at least Nov. 29. Please note that US-95 is the alternative route for this closure. For safety, local roads are restricted to non-local drivers.
ITD appreciates your patience and understanding during this holiday weekend as crews work to restore service of the highway. If you do travel for Thanksgiving, remember to check 511 for the latest road conditions, give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and drive well
UPDATE #5: 1:30 P.M. 11/23/2021
Despite winter weather rolling through Idaho, work continues to secure the rockslide on State Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry. The road will remain closed through Thanksgiving weekend, at least November 29. Please plan ahead to use US-95 as the alternate route for your holiday travels. Check 511.idaho.gov for current road conditions.
UPDATE #4: 1:30 P.M. 11/22/2021
State Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley will remain closed through Thanksgiving weekend (at least November 29) as crews work diligently to secure the rockslide area near the Rainbow Bridge, about 20 miles south of Cascade.
Crews began work Sunday on an interim solution to safely open the road for the winter. The plan includes removing boulders and mud from the hillside to construct a rock wall approximately 20 feet tall and 500 feet long. Once the wall is built to reinforce the slope, a temporary road will be constructed around the slide to safely allow traffic.
“We appreciate the patience of the public as we work to reinforce the very large slide area,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “Our goal is to reopen the highway as soon as possible. This is potentially dangerous work on an unstable slope. We need to take the time to ensure the safety of our construction team and eventually the traveling public once the road is reopened.”
Until the highway is reopened, travelers can use U.S. Highway 95 as an alternate route. A long-term plan for the rockslide area will be determined over the coming months. The immediate focus is to secure the slope before winter.
The slide is estimated to have brought down 30,000-50,000 cubic yards of material and debris. It measures nearly 200 feet from the top of the slide to the roadway and is approximately 250 feet wide along the bottom.
The public can receive direct project updates by signing up for text or email alerts on the project website, itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry, or visit Idaho 511 before leaving on a trip to learn the latest highway conditions.
update #3: 4:00 p.m. 11/19/2021
ID-55 between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley Road will remain closed through the Thanksgiving weekend following a large rockslide that occurred on Thursday (Nov. 18) afternoon.
Geotechnical experts are onsite evaluating the safety and stability of the slope, along with determining how much material needs to be removed. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) recommends holiday travelers make plans to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route. The rockslide occurred during a scheduled road closure and no one was injured.
Construction crews are expected to begin clearing the road later this weekend. Crews will remove the large amount of material as quickly and safely as possible, weather permitting. ITD will provide regular updates of progress in clearing the road and evaluating the safety of the slope prior to the road reopening.
ID-55 near Smiths Ferry remains closed in both directions while experts assess the slide. ITD is working diligently to safely open the road to traffic and will provide an update late this afternoon, Nov. 19, so travelers can make appropriate plans.
“We understand the inconvenience closing down the road causes, but our objective is to ensure the corridor is safe for travel,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “These decisions are not taken lightly. We appreciate the public’s continued patience as we work to clear the debris and reopen the road safely.”
ITD continues to advise motorists to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route.
UPDATE #1: 3:50 P.M. 11/18/2021
ID-55 will be closed in both directions at least until tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 19, while crews assess the slide. Use U.S. 95 as alternate route.
ORIGINAL POST: 2:45 P.M. 11/18/2021
ID-55 will be closed in both directions until further notice, due to a rockslide. Please use U.S. 95 as alternate route. Updates will be posted on this blog as well as on the project website. You can also sign up for email and text alerts.
On Wednesday, September 15, the Middleton City Council will consider a revision to its Comprehensive Plan regarding the future Highway 44 that will have ripple effects for transportation far beyond the city limits.
For the last two decades ITD has partnered with City of Middleton leaders to develop an alternate route for the highway that would be constructed to the south of the current roadway. The City Council will consider eliminating the alternate route from its comprehensive plan and approve new development that would build on top of the open space currently slated for the future highway.
The future alternate route was shared at two public meetings in 2019. You can see the click on the links to see the West Half and East Half of the proposed route.
What happens to the future of the highway?
The last two decades of work have laid the groundwork for a transportation network that can support the extreme growth in Middleton, Star, and Eagle.
The growth projections for the Middleton area, which are somewhat conservative, suggest 24,000 cars will drive on the highway by the year 2045. Today, the daily trip count is around 10,000. Congestion already experienced will only get worse. As highway congestion increases, typically the number of crashes also increases.
ITD’s Mission is “Your Safety. Your Mobility. Your Economic Opportunity.” These three pillars of the Department go hand-in-hand. Fewer crashes keeps people moving, energizing commerce. The alternate route for Highway 44 would achieve these goals while accommodating for the forecasted growth in the area.
Take away the option of a future alternate route, and what happens to highway traffic is uncertain. ITD has looked at a couple options at a high level. The first option is to keep the highway as-is.
The biggest “pro” of that option is the existing buildings downtown will not be impacted. The biggest con is pretty obvious – there’s no way the existing three-lane highway will effectively move 24,000 cars a day. ITD’s projected level of service for downtown intersections has nearly all of them seeing excessive delay times. In some circumstances, it could take you more than five minutes to get onto the highway from a local road.
The second option would be to add capacity to the existing highway to move more vehicles. This option is not without its downsides. We’ll share three big ones.
Impacts to existing businesses and land use
The first is the available space for the lanes. Near the fire station in particular, there is not enough room to add more lanes. In order to fit everything in, ITD will likely need to purchase existing buildings and demolish them. A preliminary scan of the total impacts of a widened highway suggests 76 different properties will be negatively impacted.
Impacts to access
The second pain point comes with the existing number of roads and driveways accessing highway 44. Every access point introduces conflicts between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists using the roadway. Transportation engineering reduces these conflict by removing accesses or restricting the movements in and out of those access points.
In order to promote safety and mobility on the existing highway alignment, ITD will likely need to install median curbs, restricting left turns on and off the highway. Similar action was taken on Eagle Road. The diagram below provides a sense of what that means for local travel options.
Delay for improvements
A third downside is the delay this will force on any improvements to the highway in Middleton. The process to achieve environmental clearance has taken nearly two decades already. Should the alternate route be removed from Middleton’s Comprehensive Plan, the clock on those efforts will be reset.
Environmental clearance is needed to get federal funding for transportation improvements. Pushing back that clearance another decade or two means the highway in Middleton won’t qualify for those dollars, ITD’s biggest bucket of money. Meanwhile, growth and congestion will continue.
The Council Decision
ITD has partnered with the City of Middleton on the future of Highway 44 for more than two decades. We will continue to do so. The Department strongly recommends the Council continues the City’s historic support for the alternate route and preserve the corridor in the Comprehensive Plan.
Regardless of the Council’s decision, we are committed to provide the best customer service we can. Our goal in sharing this information with the public is to bring clarity to a complicated process and to understand the downstream consequences of a decision. The folks at ITD are your friends, neighbors, and relatives. We want to see the community of Middleton grow and thrive. It is our belief that open dialogue and the best information will bring about the best results for us all.
With heat warnings in place throughout Idaho, widespread drought, and fire danger increasing, we can all do our part to help prevent human-caused wildfires. It only takes one spark from your vehicle to start a fire. Let’s work together to take the necessary precautions when traveling along Idaho highways this summer.
The next time you are going to hit the road, keep the following fire safety tips in mind:
Double check your trailer chains! Be sure they are not hanging low and dragging from your vehicle. The metal can throw sparks easily.
Take caution driving through dry grass or brush, and find a safer place to park! Hot exhaust pipes and heat from your vehicle can quickly catch the tall, dry grass on fire.
Watch your tire pressure. Driving on an exposed wheel rim can cause sparks.
Keep brake pads in shape. If they wear too thin, the metal on metal can make sparks.
Stay up to date on your vehicle maintenance. Leaking fluids and overheating engines can be dangerous fire hazards.
Idaho is too great to litter. Never throw cigarettes out the window.
The Idaho Transportation Department takes precautions of its own to help prevent wildfires from starting near highways. For more than 10 years, ITD and the Bureau of Land Management have partnered each spring to conduct controlled burns along highways, targeting tumbleweed early before the dry fire season sets in. When the weather heats up, it doesn’t take much for this high risk fuel to take off. Mowing and controlled burns can significantly reduce fire threat by keeping fuels to a minimum.
ITD blocks the road and manages traffic to protect BLM firefighters during the burn. Water crews protect infrastructure and keep the fire under control. Watch the video to see it all in action!
Check with the Idaho Department of Lands, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management for the latest on fire danger in your area. Before you take your next road trip, be prepared and know what current fire restrictions are in place where you are headed. Learn more fire safety tips and find contact information at idahofireinfo.com. Current highway closures and blockages due to wildfire can also be found on 511.idaho.gov.
The Idaho Transportation Department’s Southwest Idaho Office is issuing a travel advisory for motorists planning to use Idaho Highway 55 from Horseshoe Bend to McCall this weekend as it predicts heavy traffic volumes on the two-lane highway.
Several summer events are scheduled Thursday through Sunday in Valley and Boise Counties. Combined with the newly-announced Juneteenth National Independence Day holiday, Father’s Day recreation activities and good weather, the department anticipates a high number of vehicles using ID-55. The Department has coordinated with local event organizers and law enforcement to promote safety and mobility during the weekend.
ITD will station flaggers at the intersection of ID-55 and the Banks-Lowman Road Sunday to help manage traffic.
“We have worked with our partners in law enforcement and the business community to do the best we can to manage what we expect will be a lot of vehicles on the highway this weekend,” said Caleb Lakey, District Administrator for ITD’s Southwest Idaho Office. “There’s a good chance we will have some times where the highway is at capacity and motorists will experience delay.”
ITD advises motorists to anticipate delays during the historical peak travel times at ID-55 and the Banks-Lowman Road, which is 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Suggested alternate routes include U.S. 95 and Idaho Highway 21. Be prepared and make sure your vehicle is well-maintained. Fill your tank with plenty of gas, pack extra water and snacks, and consider a restroom stop before entering the Payette River Canyon.
Several construction projects will be active on U.S. 95 and ID-55 this summer. Work will be suspended Friday through Sunday on all ID-55 projects. For more information, visit ITD’s news blog.