Eight snowplows hit this season; ITD calls on drivers to be more cautious

Side-by-side images of a disabled plow on the side of the road.

So far this season across Idaho, drivers have caused eight crashes with snowplows. As more winter weather moves across the state, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) wants to remind drivers how to be safe around snowplows.

1. Never pass a plow on the right. Plows have a smaller wing plow that extends from the right side of the vehicle, which can be hard to see when the snow is flying. Drivers passing on the right and hitting the wing plow is the most common plow-related crash.
2. Give plows room to work and avoid their blind spots.
3. Be patient. The safest place to be is behind the plow.
4. Plows often work in tandem to clear multiple lanes. Never get in between the tandem plows.
5. If you are involved in a crash or stopped on the side of the road for any reason, please remain in your vehicle for your safety and for the safety of our plow operators.

The seventh and eighth crashes happened today in North Idaho, and both involved tandem plows. This morning on Interstate 90 in Coeur d’Alene, a driver got between two plows as they merged onto the highway. The driver then hit the brakes, forcing the second plow off the road to avoid a collision. Then around lunchtime on U.S. Highway 95 south of Athol, a driver passed the first plow on the left and then struck the second while trying to pass on the right.

Both plows are now out of service for the current storm.

“This issue affects everyone, not just the people involved in the crash. Every plow that is hit causes a domino effect making conditions worse,” said Operations Foreman  Shannon Thornton. “There are fewer plows on the road to deal with the snow that is still falling, and our crews have to spend precious time recovering equipment instead of plowing.”

Last winter, there were 11 plow strikes, an increase from years past and a number that ITD does not want to repeat. Please be careful driving and mindful of our plows. Check 511.idaho.gov or the Idaho 511 App for road conditions before traveling. For more winter driving tips, visit itd.idaho.gov/travel.

*For real-time updates on plow strikes, visit ITD’s Facebook or Twitter pages.

The Dos and Don’ts of driving near snow plows

Plow clearing SH-6 near White Pine Campground

Snow has already fallen in the state, so drivers should get ready to drive with plows this winter. Talking about sharing the road with plows is really more of a discussion on what you shouldn’t do.

What shouldn’t you do?

Don’t pass. The road behind a plow is always better than the road in front of a plow. And all the snow, rock and other debris comes out of a plow at a high rate of speed––if you pass and try to drive through all that, the weight of the snow could force your vehicle off the road or break windows.

Of course, that’s assuming you don’t run into the plow while attempting to pass it.

Plows trucks weigh up to 58,000 pounds and sport not one, but two, plows. Everyone is familiar with the plow on the front, which is 12 feet long and takes up a whole lane. People tend to forget about the second, smaller plow positioned on the right side of the truck. It’s called a wing plow.

That’s the one folks run into. When plows are pushing snow, it comes up over the top of the plow and obscures all the lighting and flags. Again, plows weigh up to 14 times the average vehicle, so running into them is going to have an impact.

While not illegal to pass a plow, it’s recommended you never do so on the right side because of the wing plow. Law enforcement can and will cite drivers who act recklessly or carelessly and pass when it isn’t safe.

Operators will often work in pairs, especially on multi-lane roadways like freeways, to get snow pulled from the far left side all the way to the shoulder. Don’t try to pass several plows at once or drive between them.

Plows are large vehicles with blind spots, even when not working in blizzard conditions or pushing snow. Stay out of their blind spots.

If you’re going to pass, it’s important to consider where the snow is going. Our drivers typically push snow to the right, but in some cases, they will push snow into the median.

Sometimes there isn’t room to push snow into the median, or there aren’t enough operators available to tandem plow. You may see a plow working by itself on a freeway, pushing snow into the fast lane on the first lap and then moving it all the way off the roadway on a second pass. There may be enough room to pass safely on the right – but first slow down and observe where the snow coming out of the plow lands on the road before you make your decision.

When in doubt, don’t pass.

What should you do?

  • Drive for conditions. The posted speed limit is set based on ideal conditions, so in winter you’ll have to slow down. It’s on the driver to determine a safe speed.
  • Maintain at least a three-second following distance. On slick roads, you’ll need more time to react and stop if necessary.
  • Move over. Any time emergency vehicles—which include tow trucks—are flashing their lights, you are legally required to slow down and move over into another lane if possible.
  • Leave early. Giving yourself extra time will make it that much easier to make smart decisions.
  • Download 511. No need to guess what your route looks like – download the 511 app or visit 511.idaho.gov to see road conditions and if there are any reported crashes.

As you head out on the road this winter, keep these safety tips in mind so that you and our plow drivers can make it home safely.

ITD to show design plans for I-84, Centennial Way to Franklin Road at Caldwell open house

As part of Governor Little’s Leading Idaho initiative, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is hosting an open house to share design plans for the future widening of Interstate 84 between the Centennial Way and Franklin Road interchanges in Caldwell. All community members are invited to participate in-person or online starting Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Blue and white circular logo for "Leading Idaho" projects sponsored by Governor Little

The in-person meeting will be held Nov. 9 at the Caldwell Elks Lodge, 1015 N. Kimball Avenue, from 5 – 7 p.m. Attendees will have the opportunity to review ITD’s design plans, ask questions to the project team, and provide their input. All meeting materials will also be available online at itdprojects.org/i-84-centennial-way-to-franklin-ic, with comments accepted through Nov. 16.

“We are continuing to widen I-84 through Canyon County to reduce congestion and increase safety,” said ITD Project Manager Mark Campbell. “Throughout the process, ITD is committed to engaging with travelers who use this portion of the interstate and we are excited to get this project done together.”




Proposed improvements include:

  • Widening I-84 to three lanes in each direction
  • Adding auxiliary lanes between interchanges
  • Replacing the 10th Avenue Interchange
  • Adding a traffic signal to the Centennial Way Interchange westbound off-ramp
  • Building a sound wall along Hannibal Street
  • Rehabilitating the pedestrian bridge over I-84

Design work on this section of I-84 began in late 2021 and construction is anticipated to begin in summer 2023.

The I-84 corridor projects are expected to improve safety, mobility and economic opportunities in Idaho over the next 20 years. More information is available at itdprojects.org/84corridor.

This project is funded with Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds as part of the Leading Idaho initiative. The program allows ITD to accelerate project timelines to address rapid growth and build critical infrastructure today that would otherwise take many years to fund and build.

State Highway 52 Snake River Bridge closed for repaving this Thursday, October 6

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) asks drivers in Payette to plan ahead, as the State Highway 52 Snake River Bridge will be closed this Thursday, October 6.

In cooperation with the City of Payette and Payette County Road and Bridge, crews will repave the driving surface of the bridge on Thursday. The bridge will be closed to travelers starting at 8:00 a.m. and will reopen when work is complete later that evening, by approximately 8:00 p.m. Please check Idaho 511 at 511.idaho.gov for the most up-to-date information.

Design work is currently underway on plans for a future bridge replacement scheduled for construction in 2026.

ITD and the Idaho State Police advise motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and visit 511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.

Construction activity picks up on U.S. Highway 20/26 widening

Construction activity is picking up along U.S. Highway 20/26, as the Idaho Transportation Department’s planned improvements to widen the Chinden West corridor continue. This work is part of ITD’s efforts to reduce congestion and crashes on this heavily traveled corridor.

I-84 to Middleton Road

Starting the week of September 12, construction will begin mostly off the highway on the southside of this section of US-20/26. Work includes utility and irrigation construction during daytime hours. As construction progresses, lane reductions are planned, but will be announced well ahead of time. Construction in this section is anticipated to be complete in 2024.

Middleton Road to Star Road

Preliminary design continues on this 6-mile segment of US-20/26. ITD will share updates and host another open house in 2023 for the public to view final design plans. A link to materials shared during the previous May 2022 open house is available at itdprojects.org/chindenwest.

Star Road to State Highway 16

Drivers should currently plan for overnight lane closures on this portion of US-20/26 starting the week of October 10. The highway will be reduced to one lane in each direction with intermittent delays of up to 15 minutes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Traffic on Star Road near the highway will also be limited. Flaggers will guide drivers through the work zone. Lane reductions will occur throughout construction as ITD works to widen the highway over the next two years.

Meridian Road to Locust Grove Road

Beginning the week of September 26, crews will start utility work and clearing the ITD right of way in order to widen this section of US-20/26 to two lanes in each direction. This work will continue through December, then paving and road reconstruction is anticipated to start in February 2023 or when temperatures allow. All work will wrap up in early summer.

During construction, one lane in each direction will remain open through the work zone. However, motorists can expect shoulder work, reduced speeds, and periodic lane closures with occasional night work. Specific updates regarding schedule and potential traffic impacts will be provided to residents and businesses in the area when available.

For all work along US-20/26, ITD reminds drivers to slow down, watch for posted signs, and sign up for construction updates by either emailing chindenwest@itd.idaho.gov, calling 208.334.8007, or visiting itdprojects.org/chindenwest.

Work begins to repave State Highway 55 in Valley County

Monday, September 12, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) begins work to repave State Highway 55 between Round Valley Road and Clear Creek in Valley County.

The project will focus on repaving a six-mile stretch of highway south of Cascade, repairing cracks, potholes, and overall uneven surfaces caused by weather, usage, and age. Additionally, construction will level out steep approaches and add a pavement apron to all roads and driveways connecting to the highway, providing a smooth and safe transition onto the newly paved surface.

Travelers should expect delays of up to 20 minutes while crews work Monday through Friday, although wait times may vary depending on traffic density. Temporary traffic signals will allow one lane to drive through the work zone at a time. Both lanes of SH-55 will be open during the weekend. Weather permitting, the project is expected to finish in late October.

“SH-55 is one of the most iconic highways in the state, with some of the best recreational opportunities Idaho has to offer,” said Greer Gardner, project engineer. “The winter snow this area is so popular for can cause wear on a highway. This maintenance will help improve safety and driving comfort for both Valley County residents and travelers.”

To learn more about the SH-55 Clear Creek project and sign up for email updates, visit itdprojects.org/sh55clearcreek.

ITD and the Idaho State Police advise motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and visit 511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.

Work to repave Eagle Road begins August 29

*UPDATE 10/7/2022*

The Idaho Transportation Department will be changing location on the Eagle Road repaving project.

Rather than paving the intersections of McMillan, Ustick and Fairview this fall, ITD plans to begin repaving Eagle Road between the South Channel Bridge of the Boise River and Island Woods Drive. The pavement has deteriorated and needs to be replaced during this construction season. Beginning October 9, traffic on this portion of Eagle Road will move to one side overnight with one lane in each direction open. Work will take place between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. Paving work in this area is expected to wrap up late week.



This week the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) begins work to repave Eagle Road from Interstate 84 to State Highway 44. The existing pavement will be milled off (removed) and replaced with new pavement. The new pavement is expected to last over 10 years.

All work will take place at night over two construction seasons. Work this year includes repaving Eagle Road from Overland Road to Franklin Road. In addition, ITD will repave the intersections of McMillan Road, Ustick Road, Fairview Avenue, and Franklin Road. During the intersection work, Eagle Road will be closed and traffic will be detoured to Cloverdale Road or Locust Grove Road.

Overnight closures and detours will begin at 10 p.m. and end at 6 a.m. on weekdays. Weekend opening times will vary between 6 and 9 a.m. All lanes will be open during the day.

In early September, the westbound on-ramp at the Eagle Road Interchange (Exit 46) will be closed for five nights. Each morning it will reopen at 6 a.m. Traffic will be detoured to the Meridian Interchange (Exit 44).

“More than 65,000 motorists use Eagle Road each day, and we appreciate your patience while ITD and the contractor make these needed improvements,” said Jeff Ryan, ITD Design and Construction Engineer. “If you want to learn about daily detours or traffic impacts, please text EagleRoad to 1-866-483-8422 to get the latest updates.”

During the repaving work, temporary steel plates will be placed on Eagle Road to cover manholes until the project is complete. Please drive with caution.

Idaho Materials & Construction is the contractor for this $18 million project. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2023.

For more information about the Eagle Road repaving project visit itdprojects.org/eagleroadrepairs or text EagleRoad to 1-866-483-8422 to request construction updates.

Early construction activities begin on new State Highway 16 extension

This July the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) begins the next phase of construction on the State Highway 16 corridor through the central Treasure Valley. The new extension will run north to south between U.S. Highway 20/26 and Interstate 84, west of McDermott Road along the border of Ada and Canyon counties. It will tie into the existing SH-16 route, which continues north to Emmett.

Monday, July 18, initial work starts on the southern end of the corridor where crews will set barriers and shift traffic to create room to build ramps and the bridge foundation for what will become an interchange connecting I-84 to the SH-16 extension. Drivers can expect overnight lane closures on I-84 between the Black Cat Road and Robinson Road overpasses from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m.

Work begins on the northern end, at the intersection of SH-16 and US-20/26, Monday, August 1. Traffic will be limited to one lane in each direction on US-20/26 as crews remove the center median and widen the intersection. Lane restrictions on US-20/26 will be in place through next year.

“We are excited to get underway with the next step of construction,” said ITD Project Manager Merrill Sharp. “Ultimately, this highway will address growth and improve mobility for thousands of motorists in the central Treasure Valley.”

ITD is building SH-16 in phases. The first phase was completed in 2014 between US-20/26 and SH-44. The second phase will be under construction from 2022 to 2024. A third and final phase will be constructed in future years as funding becomes available.

Phase 2 includes constructing:

  • A new I-84 interchange to access the central Treasure Valley north of I-84.
  • Approximately 4.5 miles of highway between US-20/26 and I-84.
  • Overpasses crossing Cherry Lane and McMillan Road.
  • Bridges over irrigation canals and the railroad.
  • Signalized intersections at US-20/26, Franklin Road, and Ustick Road.
  • Reconstruction of the current signalized intersection at US-20/26.

Early construction activities will also include increased truck traffic in the area as crews haul materials and utility companies relocate infrastructure. Construction may require additional closures or delays on roads in the project area and nighttime work. “It will be important to plan ahead when traveling around the corridor. ITD will communicate regularly throughout construction with those who live, work, and commute in this area,” Sharp said.

Stay informed by signing up for email and text alerts regarding project updates. Text HIGHWAY16 to 1-866-483-8422 or visit itdprojects.org/sh16corridor. Maps and other details can also be found on the project website.

Leading Idaho with Transportation

Phase 2 construction is funded through Governor Brad Little’s Leading Idaho initiative. Leading Idaho allows ITD to take a deliberate approach to invest in projects within the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) corridors that will enhance safety, improve mobility, further strengthen Idaho’s economy and positively impact communities across the state for years to come.

Interstate 84 restrictions on Sunday, July 10 for organized motorcycle ride

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.

ITD shares future plans for State Highway 55 and I-84, Karcher Interchange at Nampa open house July 7

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites the public to an open house this month for two adjacent projects in Canyon County. Design plans will be shared for improvements to the Interstate 84, Karcher Interchange and several miles of State Highway 55 west of the interchange.

Community members may stop by an in-person open house on Thursday, July 7 between 5 and 7 p.m. at Nampa Christian School, 11920 W. Flamingo Avenue in Nampa. Online open houses for each project will also be available July 7-14 at itdprojects.org/karcheric and itdprojects.org/state-highway-55-farmway-to-middleton-road.

“These two projects are part of ITD’s ongoing work to address growth and the resulting congestion on highways in Canyon County, particularly State Highway 55,” said project manager Erika Bowen. “ITD is targeting the most urgent needs in this area while continuing to plan for long-term solutions.”

The I-84, Karcher Interchange project includes widening the interchange bridge and adding a new westbound lane across the interchange to Caldwell Boulevard. Several improvements are also planned on the interchange ramps, signals, and intersections. Details are available at itdprojects.org/karcheric.

The SH-55, Farmway Road to Middleton Road project will widen SH-55 to two lanes in each direction in the busy area between Farmway and Middleton roads. More information is on the project website at itdprojects.org/state-highway-55-farmway-to-middleton-road/.

Once construction funding has been confirmed, work on the Karcher Interchange could begin as early as 2023, and the widening of SH-55 could start in 2024.

Funding for this design stage of both projects comes from the Leading Idaho Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation Program. The program allows ITD to build critical infrastructure today that would otherwise take many years to build.

A Spanish interpreter will be present at the July 7 open house. Community members can also request written materials in Spanish by calling (208) 334-8002.