Child Passenger Safety Week reminds us to keep young ones safe

Keeping children safe on the road means making sure they are buckled up in the right seat at the right age. That’s the message for next week’s National Child Passenger Safety Week (Sept. 23-29).

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is partnering with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to remind parents to properly secure their children in the right proper restraint any time they get in a car.

“Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts are often used incorrectly,” said Sherry Jenkins, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “No parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to his or her child’s safety. “

Motor vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1 to 13. She added that using age- and size-appropriate child restraints are the best way to reduce these deaths.

“In 2016, 3 of 4 child passengers under 7 years old killed in Idaho car crashes weren’t in car seats, booster seats, or wearing seat belts,” she said. “Those kids would have had a better chance of surviving had they been buckled up.”

“When children under 7 years old grow out of car seats, their greatest risk is not being placed in booster seats,” Jenkins added.  “Booster seats can save lives and are as important as any of the other restraints.”

From 2012 to 2016, 22 children under age 7 were killed in Idaho passenger vehicle crashes. Of those, 13 were unrestrained.

Child Passenger Safety Week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers about the importance of correctly installing and using car seats, booster seats, and seat belts. Parents also will be reminded of the importance of registering car seats with the manufacturer so they can be notified in the event of a recall.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing the car seats, children should be placed in booster seats until they are big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat.

NHTSA and ITD recommend keeping children in the back seat until at least age 13.  It’s the safest place for kids to ride.

To help parents and caregivers in Idaho select the right car seats for their children, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will hold free car seat-check events around the state.

“These are events where parents can come out and know for sure that their kids are as safe as possible when riding in a car,” Jenkins said. “If you have questions at all about your car seats please attend one of these events.”

National Child Passenger Safety Week Events:
Friday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Nell J Redfield Memorial Hospital, Malad, (208) 766-5368
Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at St. Luke’s Children, Nampa, (208) 381-3033
Saturday, Sept. 29, 1 p.m. – 3 p.m., at Meridian Fire Dept, Station One, Meridian,
(208) 888-1234
Saturday, Sept. 29, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., at Walmart Supercenter, 2470 Pullman Road, Moscow,
(503) 523-6902

That’s why the car seat-check events are scheduled during National Child Passenger Safety Week and the month of September. Parents can come out and know for sure that their kids are as safe as possible when riding in a car.”

Wildfires & drones don’t mix

Check out this short video from Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter about not flying drones near wildfires to avoid interference with the firefighting efforts underway. The public service announcement comes after it was widely reported that drones had interfered with, and hampered, wildfire-fighting efforts this past weekend.

ITD joins fight against human trafficking

Idaho has a network of businesses, organizations, nonprofits, churches, and individuals who want a safe place to work, raise their kids, and have fun. Unfortunately, there is a darker aside that also finds Idaho appealing.

Sex trafficking buyers and sellers also find Idaho to be a great place to conduct business.

The Idaho Anti-Trafficking group is actively fighting it. And over the next few days, we’re hoping you’ll join in the fight, too.

“We must come together as a community and take a stand against this horrific business,” said Kevin Zielinski of the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition.

Traffickers rely on our highways and interstates to conduct their nefarious business, so ITD takes the responsibility very seriously to combat these influences.

Idaho has always been known as a great place to live, with beautiful sites, parks, rivers, recreation, schools, and neighborhoods. Yet our children, youth, and adults fall prey to human trafficking right here in our backyards.

Let’s get back to watching out for friends and neighbors and make a clear statement that #idahofightsHT

For more information, please visit the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition website

 

ITD and Idaho State Police lower speed limit in south-central Idaho on stretch of I-84 in construction zone

The Idaho Transportation Department and Idaho State Police will lower the speed limit to 65 mph July 14th in a stretch of Interstate 84 within an active construction zone east of Twin Falls. The reduction is being made to maximize the safety of drivers traveling through the area.

ITD south-central Idaho Traffic Engineer Bruce Christensen stated “speeds are an important factor in any traffic control plan, but motorists putting away distractions and paying attention to the roadway is paramount in keeping our roadways safe.”

“The posted speed limit is a maximum during ideal conditions — it is not meant to replace a driver’s good judgment,” he added.

Work zone speed limits are determined in accordance with federal guidelines set by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices. Additional factors taken into account when determining speed limits are physical barriers like sight restrictions or curve radiuses, and observed traffic flow.

Lieutenant Robert Rausch, a Deputy District Commander with ISP, said “we are seeing problems related to impatience and inattentiveness when drivers enter a work zone. Motorists are often time driving too aggressively for the area and not affording themselves enough space to safely react to changes in traffic flow.”

“There are a lot of moving parts in a work zone and that’s why drivers need to do everything they can to stay engaged,” said Ken Corder from the Office of Highway Safety. “There are new traffic patterns, heavy machines, and workers in these areas trying to improve our roads—we can do our part to slow down and put away the distractions.”

“The goal of every traffic-control plan is to ensure that traffic flows safely and efficiently regardless of how many vehicles are on the road or the type of vehicle,” said ITD District Engineer Devin Rigby. “If speeds are continually fluctuating, or if traffic comes to a standstill on the interstate, the safety concerns mount.”

Drivers also have an important role to play. The most common contributing factors in Idaho crashes are aggressive driving, distracted driving, and impaired driving — all of which are human-caused. In fact, about 94% of serious-injury crashes are caused by human error.

The time between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends are often referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days” because it’s a time of year when deadly crashes tend to spike. As the timeframe indicates, we are currently in the middle of this unfortunate period. According to preliminary reports, there have been at least 40 reported fatalities on Idaho roads since the 2018 Memorial Day weekend began.

“One thing I like to stress during these summer months is for drivers to plan ahead and be prepared,” said Lieutenant Rausch. “Be prepared for the unfortunate event of your vehicle breaking down, plan ahead to ensure you always have a sober driver, and make sure you are never driving drowsy or distracted.”

Construction will begin on Idaho 55 next week (July 16) near McCall

Idaho 55 Zachary to Goose Creek Map

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin a project next week (July 16) to resurface Idaho Highway 55 between New Meadows and McCall and construct a new retaining wall east of Brundage. The project will improve driving conditions and safety on this heavily traveled route.

From July to late August, crews will work between Zachary Road in McCall and Goose Lake Road near Brundage. View the postcard for details.

In order to keep traffic moving during the busy summer season, crews will work from 12 a.m. Monday to 12 p.m. Friday. All lanes will be open on weekends.

During the week, ID-55 will be reduced to one lane both day and night with a pilot car directing traffic. The speed limit will be reduced and 12-foot width restrictions will be in place.

“This will be a tight construction zone and we are asking for drivers’ patience during the work week. Please slow down in the work zone and pay close attention to signage, as crews will be working close to traffic,” said ITD Project Manager Jim Hoffecker.

Construction will move to the area between Goose Lake Road and Goose Creek Grade in late August. The project is expected to be completed this fall.

Nampa to Marsing, ID-55 preservation projects begin after 4th of July Holiday week

Map of seal coat project on ID-55 from Nampa to Marsing

A pavement rehabilitation project between Nampa and Marsing is scheduled to begin July 9 and conclude in late July/early August. Work will seal the pavement and extend the life of the roadway.

The first phase, a six-mile micro-seal from Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard to Farmway Road, will occur in the evening (10 pm – 5 am). Work is expected to conclude the week of July 16.

The second phase, an eight-mile chip-seal from Farmway to the Snake River Bridge at Marsing, will occur during daylight hours. Work is expected to conclude in late July.

During both phases, motorists can expect reduced speeds and up to 15-minute delays as traffic will be periodically reduced to one-lane with a pilot car guiding traffic. Where work is occurring, intersections will be controlled by flaggers with minimal delays. Motorists are encouraged to drive with caution through the work zone.

Schedules are subject to change. The contractor is permitted to work weekends. For up-to-date construction information, visit 511.idaho.gov.

Single lane closure on eastbound I-84 Sunday July 1

Cloverdale Lane Closure

The Idaho Transportation Department will close the left-most lane of eastbound Interstate 84 beneath the Cloverdale Overpass Sunday, July 1. This will allow crews to perform work in preparation for replacing the damaged bridge.

Crews will drill beneath the existing bridge to test the soil composition. This will inform what treatment is needed for the foundation of the replacement bridge for Cloverdale Road. The replacement, currently being designed by ITD engineers will feature four 11-foot travel lanes, 5.5-foot raised bike lanes, and 7.5-foot sidewalks.

The single-lane closure is expected to begin early Sunday morning and stay in place for most of the day.

Drivers are encouraged to use caution in the work zone. For updated information on traffic impacts on the State Highway System, please visit 511 online at 511.idaho.gov.

Testing finds no E. coli in Hagerman rest area water

UPDATE 7/3/18: Second water test comes back clean, so boil order lifted and water fountain reopens this afternoon.
UPDATE 6/30/18: Additional water testing at the Hagerman rest area on US-30 has come back negative for E. coli. Another test is slated for today, Monday 7/2.

Below is the initial release on the subject:

SHOSHONE—On Thursday, June 28 E. coli bacteria were found in the Hagerman Rest Area water supply located south of Hagerman on US-30. The discovery was made during routine quarterly testing conducted by the Idaho Transportation Department.

Drinking fountains have been disabled but the rest area will remain open while ITD works with the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to investigate the cause and take corrective actions on the issue.

Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.

What should I do? What does this mean?

  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil, let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
  • E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Human pathogens in these wastes can cause short-term effects, such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a greater health risk for infants, young children, the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems.
  • The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice from their healthcare providers about drinking this water.

What is being done?

ITD is completing a comprehensive assessment of the water system as well as monitoring and operational practices to identify and correct any causes of the contamination.

Public will be informed when tests show no bacteria are present and there is no longer need to boil drinking water. It is anticipate that the problem will be resolved within 7 days.

For more information, please contact ITD at 208-886-7808 or ITD 216 South Date St. Shoshone ID 83352. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791.

ITD begins work to replace Cloverdale bridge over I-84 with support of ACHD Commissioners

The Ada County Highway District Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to support ITD’s plan to replace the Cloverdale Road bridge over Interstate 84.

The concurrence provides a unified front for ACHD and ITD on how best to address this emergency. The Idaho Transportation Board passed a resolution last week to replace the Cloverdale bridge with a $6-8 million structure.

ITD and ACHD developed a preliminary design for the replacement bridge that will match the county highway district’s long-range plans for Cloverdale Road. ITD District 3 Engineer Amy Revis presented this plan to the ACHD Board on Wednesday. It includes four 11-foot travel lanes, a 5.5-foot raised bike lane, and a 7.5-foot sidewalk.

“I am grateful for the full support of the ACHD Board of Commissioners,” said Revis. “The collaboration between our agencies will help create a bridge that will serve this area well for many years to come. I ask the public to exercise patience as we construct these needed improvements.”

ITD engineers have already been gathering information needed for designing the replacement bridge. When a design is complete, the department will seek bids from contractors to construct the bridge.

The old bridge will remain closed until the new bridge is complete, which is expected to take 12 months. ITD closed the Cloverdale bridge due to extensive damage caused by a fatal crash Saturday, June 16.

The replacement will not include on- or off-ramps to I-84. ITD’s goal is to reopen the important crossing point at Cloverdale quickly. The study and analysis of adding ramps and alternative actions in the area would greatly delay that goal.

ITD releases traffic control plan used for Interstate 84 construction

The Idaho Transportation Department has received interest regarding the traffic control plan for the Five Mile to Orchard project on Interstate 84. You can see the entire traffic control plan for project by clicking here.

ITD Construction projects that have shoulder or lane restrictions are required to include a traffic control plan that meet the standards included in the federal and state approved Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD). These contractor traffic control plans are used to set up signs, barrels, and other traffic control devices for a project.

Below is a brief description of the traffic control plan:

First, the plans for advance warning signs before the lane reduction. This information can be found on page 14 of the traffic control plan.

A section of the traffic control plan for warning signs before the lane closure and construction
A section of the traffic control plan for warning signs before the lane closure and construction

The first sign a motorist would encounter is a portable changeable message sign on the right shoulder. This sign read “NIGHT WORK THRU JUNE: CHECK 511”. This sign was placed on the east side of the Eagle Road Overpass.

A minimum of 1,500 feet after the portable changeable message sign, the plan calls for a 4’x4’ orange diamond signs on both shoulders that read “ROAD WORK AHEAD.”

A minimum of 1,000 feet after the “ROAD WORK AHEAD SIGN” the plan calls for a 6’x3’ white rectangular signs on both shoulders that read “INCREASED FINES FOR WORK ZONE SPEED VIOLATIONS.” Following these signs, a minimum of 1000’ away 4’x4’ orange diamond signs on each shoulder are placed with a “SPEED LIMIT 55” box and arrow pointing up indicating a speed limit reduction ahead.

A minimum of 1,000’ feet beyond these orange diamond sign, the plan calls for 4’x5’ white and black rectangular signs on both shoulders reading “SPEED LIMIT 55.” At this point, drivers have seen four signs on each shoulder over a minimum of 4,500 feet. All of this signage is placed before the lane restriction begins.

The next section ITD highlights is the beginning of the construction zone. This information can be found on page 12 of the traffic control plan.

A section of the traffic control plan showing the placement for signs and barrels before, through, and after the construction zone
A section of the traffic control plan showing the placement for signs and barrels before, through, and after the construction zone

A minimum of 1,000 feet after the “SPEED LIMIT 55” signs discussed above, the plan calls for 4’x4’ orange diamond signs on both shoulders indicating the number of lanes closed ahead. This project closed the three left lanes and the signs at this location on the field read “3 LANES CLOSED AHEAD.”

A minimum of 1,500 feet after these signs, the plan calls for 4’x4’ orange diamond signs on both shoulders indicating the left lane is closing ahead (sign 8 in the figure above). A minimum of 1,000’ after this sign, the taper to close off the lane begins.

The plan allows for two options on how to execute a taper. One option is to have a continuous taper closing all three lanes over 1,980 feet. The second is to have three separate tapers, with a tangent (straight) section between each taper.

The plan for this option is detailed as follows. At the beginning of each taper, an illuminated merge right arrow sign is placed. Orange drums with retroreflective lines are used for each taper and tangent section, spaced no more than 55 feet apart.

Each taper must extend a minimum of 660 feet. At the end of each taper, a minimum straight segment (identified as tangent on the plan sheets) of 1,320 feet (1/4 mile) extends until the beginning of the next taper.

Overall, from the first notice of construction at the portable changeable message sign to the final single lane of travel, a vehicle traveling the maximum legal speed would have more than two minutes and twenty seconds to make the appropriate maneuvers and be in the proper lane.