Child Pedestrian Safety projects start in spring

BOISE – A dozen sidewalk and pathway projects benefiting child pedestrian safety will be built this year across the state beginning this spring.

There were 71 eligible project applications requesting more than $12M in funds to consider in this year’s funding cycle (there was just $2M in funding available). The maximum award is $250,000. Construction must be completed before the end of the year.

The projects are thanks to collaboration between the Idaho Transportation Department and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, after a legislative effort last year. They are funded with general fund surplus money approved by the Idaho Legislature during the 2017 session.

The following 12 projects were approved for funding:

Location        Amount
Ashton            $250,000
Title: Main Street sidewalk improvements
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk and lighting improvements along Main St. (ID-47) to connect with the existing pedestrian system at the high school.

Blackfoot         $171,000
Title: Ridge Crest Elementary Safety Improvements Project
Description: This project will provide a 575-foot section of sidewalk along Airport Road to extend the sidewalk from Ridgecrest Elementary to the park. Additional safety improvements include a pedestrian crossing at East Airport Road.

Burley             $191,000
Title: Highland Avenue and East 19th Street Sidewalk Connection
Description: This project will provide nearly a half-mile of new sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps that connect two schools along Highland Avenue. The schools are White Pine Intermediate and Dworshack Elementary.

Caldwell          $109,446
Title: Sacajawea Elementary School Project
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk, updated ADA curb ramps, bike lanes, and streetlights, and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon along Illinois Avenue to provide a safe route to school for children travelling to Sacajawea Elementary.

Carey               $154,640
Title: Crosswalk Signage and Pedestrian Improvement Project
Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along ID-26 and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians walking across the state highway.

Driggs               $125,000
Title: South 5th Street Pathway
Description: This project will provide approximately 1,600 feet of 10-foot-wide multiuse path and ADA ramps along South 5th Street, connecting four schools to residential areas. This project extends an existing safe route to school.

Firth                  $250,000
Title: Children Pedestrian Improvements
Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along Center Street from Main St. (ID-91) to the elementary school. Additional safety improvements include a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon signal on Main St.

Idaho Falls         $240,000
Title: Iona Street, Riverside Drive and Bush Elementary Connections
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along Iona Street and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon for safe crossings at Riverside Drive (a busy street near an interchange). A second location includes sidewalk connections to Bush Elementary.

Marsing              $35,326
Title: ID-55 Sidewalk Project
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along ID-55, connecting the public library and downtown with the elementary, middle, and high schools.

Moscow             $250,000
Title: Third Street Corridor Improvements
Description: This project will provide about 970 feet of new sidewalk along 3rd Street, connecting two elementary schools and the high school along a safe route to school. Additional safety improvements include adding center medians, curb extensions, vertical tube delineator (high-visibility markings), and school-zone lighting.

Shelley                $135,000
Title: Locust and US-91 Improvements
Description: This project will install a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon at the intersection of ID-91 and Locust Street to provide a safe pedestrian crossing for students going to the school or library.

Teton                  $28,000
Title: Child Pedestrian Safety Project
Description: This project will install Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons at two intersections along ID-33 south of Teton Elementary to provide safe crossing for students going to and from school.

New signs at Lewiston port signal big money and time savings

POE Bypass

Drivers traveling in the Lewiston area in the last month may have noticed some new signs near the Port of Entry along US-95. The signs are the most visible indication of significant money and time savings for commercial drivers.

The new signs are part of an updated system designed to improve the mobility of freight in the area, save time on the road, safeguard taxpayer money and support economic opportunity in the region. Signs are now used to signal commercial rigs to bypass the port if the truck’s weight, height, length, safety rating and credentials are in adherence with the law.

Highway sensors verify the criteria above prior to trucks reaching the port so that flashing signs can alert drivers if they may continue or need to stop.

Recent improvements cost $750,000 but are expected to save much more.

The updated weigh-in-motion system is expected to allow up to 70 percent of commercial traffic heading out of the city and another 50 percent heading into the city to bypass the port just south of town.

Trucks that can bypass a port save an average of five minutes of time per incident and almost a half a gallon of fuel. This amounts to a savings of about $8.68 per bypass, according to an analysis of these systems by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Approximately 800 commercial trucks access the Lewiston area every day, meaning improvements at this port alone will save the trucking industry more than $900,000 this year.

Last year, commercial trucks using similar systems to bypass four Idaho ports saved the trucking industry $3.475 million.

“This technology saves our commercial drivers significant time and money, especially for local drivers who pass through the port three to four times on a normal day,” said Ron Morgan, the supervisor of the Lewiston ports.

Vehicles that bypass also benefit the state and other drivers by reducing congestion around weigh stations and enabling inspectors to focus their efforts on other carriers.

“The recent updates to the system reflect the department’s commitment to building a transportation system that supports economic opportunity and mobility in the area,” Morgan said.

From Genesee to D.C.: Clawson begins AASHTO Fellowship in spring

Talk about Culture Shock!

Idaho Transportation Department North-Central (District 2) Materials Engineer Chad Clawson, who has been with the department for 18 years, was informed Feb. 16 that he earned a 2018 Transportation Management Fellowship from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

He will leave tiny Genesee (pop. 958) and report to Washington, D.C. in April for the year-long commitment. There are about 680,000 people in the D.C. area proper, with a metro-area population of more than five million people.

“My initial reaction was disbelief, then excitement and internal panic; really, it was difficult to contain my excitement,” said Clawson. “This is going to be a great opportunity for personal and professional growth.”

In his nomination letter in November 2017, Chad was most intrigued by the exposure to transportation and infrastructure planning on a larger scale than is typically afforded him in Idaho.

He is excited to bring that big-picture thinking to his position within ITD, benefiting road users. “I look forward to synthesizing ideas — then bringing them back to our department, and showing Idaho pride to the rest of the nation.”

Clawson said the year with AASHTO will be spent working on a broad range of technical issues with design, traffic engineering, materials and operations. “There will be reauthorization of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, committee policy work, and a good deal of traveling. I will have direct involvement with topics at a different level that directly affect our safety, standards, and business practices here at ITD.”

Clawson works in planning and project delivery for ITD District 2, helping prioritize a construction budget of about $15 million annually.

Public meeting on Feb. 22 for US-95 bridgework near Potlatch

Deep Creek Bridge

An open house will be held Feb. 22 to share information on plans to improve safety on US-95 by replacing two aging bridges and by adding turn lanes at two intersections near Potlatch.

The public meeting will be held at the Scenic 6 Depot at 126 Sixth Street in Potlatch from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in an open house format. Members of the public are invited to arrive at any time to learn about the design and the project schedule. Project staff will be available to discuss the planned improvements, which are scheduled to be constructed in 2020 for an estimated $6.6 million.

Planned improvements include:

– Replacing the Deep Creek and Washington-Idaho Railroad (WIR) bridges

– Adding turn lanes at the junctions of the highway with ID-6 and with Kennedy Ford Road

The new bridge over the Washington-Idaho Railroad will be elevated to meet current height guidelines, and the supports underneath the bridge will be spaced wider to accommodate a future addition of another track. Improvements to the junction of ID-6 and US-95 near the WIR Bridge will likely prevent several crashes, as there have been 19 crashes near the intersection between 2011 and 2015.

The addition of turn lanes at the junction of US-95 and Kennedy Ford Road near the Deep Creek Bridge will also likely prevent crashes, of which there were 18 near the intersection between 2011 and 2015.

For those who have questions or comments but are unable to attend the public meeting, please email the project manager Kerby Kirkham at or mail comments to: US-95 Potlatch Bridges Improvement Project, Attn: Kerby Kirkham, ITD District 2, 2600 Frontage Road, Lewiston ID, 83501. Comments are due by March 9, 2018, to be considered as part of the official project record.

For more information, visit, choose “Projects” and then select US-95: Potlatch Bridges Improvement Project.

Major improvements coming to US-12 in north-central Idaho this construction season

LEWISTON—During the upcoming construction season, US-12 in north-central Idaho will undergo a $17 million transformation to revitalize aging infrastructure and improve safety throughout the corridor.

More than 50 miles of the highway between Lowell and the Idaho-Montana border will be repaved, and two bridges—over Maggie and Fish creeks—will be replaced.

“We are excited to have this opportunity to improve the corridor,” said Joe Schacher, the ITD manager for the improvements. “Some sections of the highway have deteriorated significantly due to heavy use and harsh weather conditions, and the bridges haven’t received major repairs since they were built in the early 1950s.”

Knife River Corporation will resurface 27 miles between Tumble Creek and Saddle Camp Road and another 23 miles between Warm Springs Pack Bridge and the Montana border. Repaving the highway will cost $13.3 million, Schacher said.

Concrete Placing Company will replace Fish Creek Bridge, and Braun-Jensen Inc. will replace Maggie Creek Bridge for a combined cost of $3.6 million, Schacher said.

Schacher said construction throughout the corridor could begin as early as April and conclude as late as October. Work will be suspended during travel-heavy holidays such as Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day to minimize impacts to the traveling public. ITD has also coordinated with the USDA Forest Service to reduce effects to participants in Lochsa Madness and other events.

“US-12 is a critical access route for visitors planning a trip to the forest and the many recreation sites the Forest Service has in the Lochsa corridor,” says Jennifer Becar, public affairs specialist for the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. “We appreciate the work ITD will be doing to improve access along this route and will be working closely with them to make sure our visitors are aware of upcoming travel impacts.”

Drivers can expect significant delays while traveling through the corridor. Given the number of projects in the area and the limited passing opportunities on the predominately two-lane highway, Schacher said travelers could experience delays upwards of two hours.

“Although it may not be ideal to oversee four different projects in one season, we were able to take advantage of the available funding,” said Doral Hoff, the engineering manager for ITD’s District 2. “The public can be assured that after this construction-intense summer, they won’t see ITD working on the highway for a while.”

A few years after these improvements, contractors will add seal coats to approximately 60 miles of the highway to protect the new road surface and extend the life of the fresh pavement, but other than that, Hoff said he does not anticipate construction for another two to three years.

As construction nears, the public can find information about specific construction dates through the project website at and by visiting Travelers can also find construction information through the Montana Department of Transportation’s traveler information webpage at

Construction underway to repair ID-3 near Kendrick damaged last spring by slide

ID-3 Landslide 2017

LEWISTON – Crews are stabilizing the slope by Idaho Highway 3 near Kendrick to prevent future landslides like the one that cracked the roadway last spring. That work is underway and is expected to continue through January 2018.

Knife River Corporation, the contractor for this $3.3-million project, began construction of a soil nail wall on the Bear Ridge Grade in late October. The soil nail wall will secure the area by installing a grid of steel bars, reinforced by a concrete retaining wall, that extends beyond the affected area of the slide into stable material in the hillside.

There are no impacts to traffic at this time near the construction site at milepost 15.7 but drivers are advised to reduce their speed to 35 mph as work is being performed on both sides of the highway.

In conjunction with the soil nail wall, the contractor will also replace a broken culvert underneath the road. The road will be reduced to one lane at that time.

“The soil nail wall, in addition to the new culvert, will greatly reduce the likelihood of another landslide by securing the slope,” said Riley Bender, Idaho Transportation Department project manager for the repairs.

ID-3 repairs are expected to be finished by the end of next August, including repaving 6.4 miles of the highway from the top of Bear Ridge Grade to Texas Ridge Road.

Milling and paving on Idaho Highway 8 through Moscow will impact traffic, businesses for next week and a half

Laying asphalt
Map of Hwy 8 Mill and Fill
Map of Hwy 8 Mill and Fill

LEWISTON – Milling and paving on Idaho Highway 8 is expected to impact drivers and businesses during daytime hours for the next week and a half. Crews will block three of the lanes, leaving one lane open in each direction.

Intersections and driveways may be temporarily closed during the rehabilitation. The worst traffic impacts during milling are expected to occur today through Monday (Aug. 2-7).

Crews will begin milling off the top section of roadway surface around 5 a.m., with paving coming through around 10 a.m. in that same section. The work is expected to continue throughout the day and finish by that evening.

Work on this $3.55 million job, contracted to Poe Asphalt, of Clarkston, Washington, is expected to finish by late September.

More than decade later, ITD wetland of flowers, animals and grasses flourishing in tiny Genesee

D2 Wetlands

What was once a wind-blown wheat field near the small Idaho town of Genesee is now an environmental success story. A dozen years later, ITD has created a thriving, marshy wetlands area where one never existed before.

Genesee, a town of fewer than 1,000 folks, is a quiet community resting in the rolling hills and prairie that dominate Idaho’s Palouse country, midway between Moscow and Lewiston. When road construction on U.S. 95 in the spring of 2005 from the top of Lewiston Hill to Genesee required using some land designated as wetlands, ITD spearheaded a mitigation project to construct wetlands as compensation.

The project became known as “Cow Creek Wetland,” located along a half-mile of Cow Creek in Latah County next to Genesee between two county roads — Morscheck and Kreier

ITD eventually created almost 11.5 acres of wetland and riparian area to mitigate for area impacted by the highway project, at a cost of $1.5 million.

Construction started in 2005, as there were wells drilled at each corner of the area to provide water for the irrigation system and help plants get established. Excavation, irrigation system and initial plantings were completed that year. Nearly 24,000 containerized trees and shrubs were part of the mitigation plan. In addition, there were almost 35,000 plugs of wetland grasses, rushes, sedges, and more planted in 2005.

D2 Wetlands Before After
A before-and-after shot shows how this landscape has been transformed.

Then came the winter of 2005/2006, when roughly 90 percent of those wetland plugs were lost due to frost heaves. So, planners returned to the drawing board.

Spring of 2006, wetland areas were broadcast-seeded to compensate for the loss that first winter. In addition to seeding and planting, trees removed during the project were placed in the wetland as habitat snags, and in November of 2007 an additional 2,500 containerized plants were planted as warranty to replace trees and shrubs that had died.

The irrigation system, installed to provide watering as the vegetation got established, was turned off in 2008 to encourage plants to acclimate to their natural conditions.

By August of 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stamped the site as completed.Many Genesee residents, who also use it for bird watching, today use the Cow Creek Wetland as a walking trail.

Most impressively, it is used as a wetland ecology classroom by the local high school.

Idaho one of only two western states to win multiple regional transportation awards

BOISE – Two Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) efforts — a massive clean up of a landslide in north-central Idaho, and the final piece of an interchange construction plan in eastern Idaho that significantly cut serious crashes — won regional awards June 28 in Juneau, Alaska.

Regional winners in the America’s Transportation Awards were announced during the annual conference of the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO). Idaho was one of only two western states to receive multiple awards; Colorado was the other. WASHTO is the western regional arm of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

“The America’s Transportation Awards give state DOTs recognition for providing the essential connections that keep people, goods and our economy moving forward,” said David Bernhardt, AASHTO president.

The two ITD awards are listed below:

Elk City Slide Cleanup – winner in “Operational Excellence, Small Project”

The 2016 Elk City landslide unleashed 47 million lbs. of mud, rock and debris on Idaho State Highway 14, cut off access to a remote town and threatened grocery and gas deliveries, health-care visits, emergency services, and the livelihood of those who rely on the highway for transport.

ITD employees from all over the state swarmed to the site to respond. Many employees took leave of their typical job assignments to assist in the efforts. The cleanup took about six months, and cost close to $3.5 million.

The original slide dumped material across a 500-foot-wide stretch of highway. Two months later, a second slide brought down more material and pushed what was already loose debris even closer to the highway. Combined, the slides spilled 235,000 cubic yards of debris on the road and left a boulder weighing about 2.4 million lbs. on the hillside that ITD reduced with two dynamite charges.

“The entire team of worked safely and efficiently, with the people of Elk City in mind every step of the way,” said ITD District 2 Engineering Manager Doral Hoff.

Thornton Interchange – winner in “Best Use of Technology & Innovation, Small Project”
The opening of the new Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg marked the culmination of more than a decade of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built in a 34-mile stretch of U.S. 20 between Idaho Falls and Sugar City to improve access management and traffic flow for greater highway safety and mobility.

Despite traffic volumes doubling, these improvements drastically decreased serious-injury crashes and fatalities. In addition, several money-saving innovations and technological advances shaved at least $450,000 off the final price tag for the Thornton project.

“Providing the contractor with a 3-D model for the Thornton Interchange and requiring them to use automated grade control during construction shortened the required construction time and reduced the impact to traffic through the busiest part of the summer,” said ITD District 6 Engineering Manager Wade Allen.

Seal coat work starts Tuesday (June 13) on section of U.S. 95

Chip Seal Coat

LEWISTON – Seal coating will be done on sections of U.S. 95 starting Tuesday (June 13) from the Little Salmon River Bridge to the south city limits of Riggins, as crews lay a top protective layer to extend the life of the underlying pavement. The work is expected to take several weeks, depending on weather.

Below is a list of the routes and locations that will be seal coated. During work, motorist should expect minor delays, and flaggers or pilot cars may be used to guide traffic.

U.S. 95, Little Salmon River Bridge to Riggins South City Limits (milepost 185.4-194.6)
U.S. 95, Riggins North City Limits to Goff Bridge (milepost 196.2-197.3)
U.S. 95, Skookumchuck to White Bird Bridge (milepost 219.1-223.7)
U.S. 95, Bottom of White Bird Hill to Johnston Rd. (milepost 234-242)
U.S. 95, Westlake Road to N. Winchester Approach (milepost 273.7-279.7)
U.S. 95B, Craigmont Business Loop (milepost 271.8-273.5)
SH 14, Jct. Hwy 13 & 14 to S. Fork Clearwater Road Bridge (milepost 0-8.7)

Knife River Construction is the contractor on this $1.22 million work.