New landslide database provides tool for project development and hazard mitigation

The Idaho Geological Survey (IGS) is helping the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) learn more from landslides in the Gem State. A new statewide inventory database of landslide and rock fall hazards released by IGS in late June will assist ITD, emergency managers, and planners with forecasting and hazard mitigation by identifying problematic hot spots.

The project was sponsored by ITD’s Division of Highways – Construction and Materials team and funded through ITD’s Research Program.

The inventory contains more than 2,400 landslide entries spanning from prehistoric to active events. It’s posted on the IGS website and can be accessed through an interactive webmap service.

The information was also added to ITD’s IPLAN online ArcGIS platform. The database includes attributes to maintain MSE retaining wall locations and risk factors to evaluate the condition of the wall, as well as attributes for rock fall risk, so ITD districts can assess the problematic areas that could cause road closures.

Data were compiled from historic archives, information provided by ITD geotechnical staff and district geologists, unpublished IGS field observations, analysis of LiDAR imagery, remote sensing, satellite images, and newly mapped landslides.

“The study represents a live catalog of mass movements across the state with a particular focus on transportation corridors and urban areas,” said State Geologist and IGS Director Claudio Berti. “The database is a tool for documenting and assessing slope stability hazards. It is not intended to predict future events, but to document known events and show broad patterns of occurrence.”

This new database replaces the last inventory published in 1991, a static map no longer suitable for modern digital analyses. The 2021 version will be kept up to date as new events occur or new information becomes available.

Landslide problem areas in Idaho include: Bonners Ferry, Clearwater River Basin, Horseshoe Bend, Boise Foothills, Hagerman, U.S. 95 between Pollock and Lucile, and U.S. 26 between Swan Valley and the Wyoming border. Geologic characteristics of the bedrock, fractures, systems, precipitation, regional hydrogeology, vegetation, wildfires, and steepness of hillslopes are all contributing factors in landslide initiation and development.

You can also learn more by reading the full research report linked here.

Idaho Transportation Department now taking comments for all upcoming projects

Cars cross Lake Pend Oreille on the Long Bridge

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is asking for input on the just-released draft Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP). The 2022-2028 ITIP is a seven-year master plan of the state’s transportation improvement projects. Everyone is encouraged to participate starting in July.

Projects can range from large-scale interstate improvements to smaller projects like the installation of a new guardrail. In all, the draft ITIP includes projects in all 44 counties and all modes of transportation. Projects were selected based on technical data, as well as input from local officials and residents.

A complete breakdown of the draft plan can be found at itd.idaho.gov/funding, as well as an interactive map that allows users to learn about projects by narrowing it down to specific categories and locations.

A few of the major projects throughout Idaho are:

  • Bridge replacement and adding a travel lane on west bound I-86 in Pocatello.
  • Interchange improvements to the I-15 Exit 113 interchange in Idaho Falls including constructing roundabouts.
  • Full road reconstruction on ID-33 from the US-20/ID-33 interchange to Newdale.
  • Replacement of the structure at the I-84/ID-50 Junction (Exit 182).
  • Replacement of Yankee Fork Bridge on ID-75 in Custer County.
  • Widening ID-44 from Star Road to Linder Road.
  • Extending ID-16 from US-20/26 to I-84.
  • Redesign of the interchange at I-90 and ID-41, with construction planned to start in 2023.
  • Study to begin this fall to examine potential expansion of US-95 to four lanes from Moscow to north of the Mineral Mountain Rest Area.

Comments will be taken from July 1-31 and can be e-mailed to ITDcommunication@itd.idaho.gov or mailed to:

ITIP – Comments
Attn: Office of Communication
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID  83707

Paper copies of the ITIP will be provided upon request by contacting the Idaho Transportation Department (208) 334-8119.

All comments will be reviewed, incorporated into the ITIP where appropriate, and responses will be sent in September once the comment period has ended.

After approval by the Idaho Transportation Board in September, the ITIP will then be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency in October.

 

 

ITD’s Freight Program seeks representatives to help shape freight’s future

Help shape Idaho’s freight future! The Idaho Transportation Department is seeking representatives to serve on the Freight Advisory Committee. The group is made of six members, one representing each of ITD’s administrative districts.

  • The individual selected for District 1 will represent Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai, and Shoshone counties
  • The individual selected for District 2 will represent Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis, and Nez Perce counties
  • The individual selected for District 3 will represent Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Washington, and Valley counties
  • The individual selected for District 4 will Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, and Twin Falls counties
  • The individual selected for District 5 will represent Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida, and Power counties
  • The individual selected for District 6 will represent Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Custer, Fremont, Jefferson, Lemhi, Teton, and Madison counties

The Freight Advisory Committee (FAC) was created to advise ITD on issues related to freight transportation in Idaho. FAC members gather and speak on behalf of the following industries:

  • Rail, Highway/Trucking
  • Aeronautics
  • Port/Barge
  • Agriculture
  • Natural Resource
  • Manufacturing/Retail
  • Carrier/Shipping
  • Freight Logistics/Warehousing

Applications for FAC representatives in each of the six districts will be accepted June 21 – July 21, 2021. A 15-day public comment period on the candidates will then follow. Find the application form and instructions at itd.idaho.gov/freight under the Freight Program and Get Involved tabs, or also linked here.

For more information about FAC or the application, contact ITD Freight Program Manager Scott Luekenga at (208) 334-8057 or by email at scott.luekenga@itd.idaho.gov

Travel advisory issued on Idaho Highway 55 for anticipated high traffic volumes

Intersection of ID-55 and Banks-Lowman Road

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.

Idaho Highway 19 pavement rehabilitation in Homedale begins next week

highway in rural town

Reconstruction of Idaho Highway 19 (Idaho Avenue) through downtown Homedale will begin the week of June 14.

ID-19 in Homdalde
ID-19 in Homedale

The pavement rehabilitation includes milling the old road surface, replacing it with new pavement, and upgrading ADA (Americans with Disabilities) facilities, including crosswalks and pedestrian crossings.

Construction will occur on ID-19 between approximately N. 4th Street East and Railroad Ave. It is scheduled to be complete in late summer.

During construction, expect the following:

  • Work will occur between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. five days a week.
  • Business access will be maintained.
  • Drivers should anticipate a temporary gravel road surface during construction activities.
  • Two lanes of traffic will be open during construction, though some detours or flagging are possible.
  • Sidewalk access and pedestrian detours will be signed.
  • Some work will be noisy.

Drivers are encouraged to slow down and pay attention to crews working in the area.

For questions or to sign up for construction updates, please call 208.387.7072, or visit the project website at ITDprojects.org/ID19HomedaleRebuild

ID-55 Smiths Ferry project transitions to summer work schedule

Spring construction is wrapping up on Idaho Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and Rainbow Bridge. Thursday, May 27th marks the last day of planned full road closures until September. Friday through Monday during the Memorial Day weekend, both lanes of the highway will be open. Then Tuesday, June 1st, our summer construction schedule begins.

This project will help improve safety and mobility for drivers by widening shoulders, minimizing roadway curves, and installing guardrail in certain locations.

“Our spring construction started in mid-March, and with full road closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. crews were able to safely blast rock away from the hillside,” said Project Engineer Alex Deduck. “In two and a half months crews excavated and removed nearly 55,000 cubic yards of material, that’s more than 4,500 truckloads. We’re close to a third of the way through the project now and appreciate everyone’s patience and cooperation as we make this a safer drive.”

Crews will continue their work on the highway this summer. June 1 through Labor Day drivers should plan for one-lane alternating traffic day and night Monday through early Friday morning. Both lanes will be open on weekends Friday through Sunday to accommodate busy summer travel.

Watch the video below to see the progress made so far.

Be the first to know project updates by signing up for our text alerts and emails. Just visit our website or text the word “alerts” to 833-480-0255. Project representatives are available 24/7 to answer your questions.

Thank you for your patience as we improve the safety and mobility of ID-55.

Travel advisory: Motorists should plan for multiple construction projects on U.S. 95 and ID-55 between the Treasure Valley and West Central Mountains destinations

Cars stopped by flagger on Idaho Highway 55

As summer travel heats up the Idaho Transportation Department wants motorists to prepare for short delays on U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 55 as several construction projects will be ongoing between the Treasure Valley and popular destinations, such as Cascade, Council, New Meadows, and McCall.

Each project will have its own timeline and unique impacts to travel. Each one listed below is linked to the project webpage, which provides additional information.Summer 2021 construction map

  1. ID-55: Donnelly to Deinhard Repaving south of McCall
  2. ID-55: Smiths Ferry Improvements south of Cascade
  3. U.S. 95: Jct I-84 to Gayway Jct Sealcoat in Fruitland
  4. U.S. 95: Pine Creek Bridge Replacement south of Cambridge
  5. U.S. 95: Little Salmon River Bridge Replacement west of New Meadows

Construction of these projects will preserve and enhance the safety, mobility, and economic opportunity on our state highway system.

“We’ve designed these projects to limit impacts to the traveling public, especially the during heavy weekend travel periods,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD Engineering Manager.  “However, we still encourage motorists to plan ahead, exercise patience, pay attention, and follow the posted signs in the work zones.”

The Department also encourages motorists to check the latest conditions and travel impacts before leaving by checking Idaho 511.

ITD doubles summer flagging resources at Idaho Highway 55 and Banks-Lowman Road to aid safety and mobility

Intersection of ID-55 and Banks-Lowman Road

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Southwest Idaho Office will double the number of days flagging will be conducted at the intersection of Idaho Highway 55 and the Banks-Lowman Road, which can see significant congestion during summer Sundays.

The Department will deploy flaggers on the six weekends this summer anticipated to have the highest number of travelers at the intersection. Historically, flaggers were deployed for the three summer holidays, Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Using historical data and partnering with local event organizers, ITD is changing which days flaggers will mobilize in order to target the busiest days. The current schedule for flagging is:

  • June 20th
  • July 5th (Independence Day)
  • All remaining Sundays in July (11, 18, 25)
  • September 6th (Labor Day)

“We removed Memorial Day from our flagging schedule after we looked at years of travel data,” said Caleb Lakey, District Administrator of ITD’s Southwest Idaho Office. “We confirmed the reports of our maintenance staff that there are, on average, more cars on the road any given Sunday in July and the first weeks of August than Memorial Day. A lot of that is weather dependent, and we may still see a lot of people on the road if we have warm temperatures early on.”

ITD urges motorists to still plan for significant travel delays on ID-55 between Boise and Cascade, as well as on the local road, Banks-Lowman Road during summer weekends. Flagging the intersection relieves some congestion on Banks-Lowman Road but also slows traffic on ID-55.

“Ultimately, both highways and the intersection simply reach capacity as everyone who spent the weekend in the mountains returns home to the Treasure Valley,” said Lakey. “I urge those travelers to consider taking alternate routes or making their return outside the peak time of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Otherwise, plan to have some delay.”

ITD is partnering with the Western Federal Land Division of the Federal Highway Administration to develop a plan for improvements at this intersection. The project launched in March 2021 and will complete environmental and geotechnical work along with preliminary design options for the intersection improvement. ITD will seek additional funding to finish design, acquire right of way, and construct the improvement.

In addition to the increased flagging days, ITD has placed new advisory signs ahead of the intersection. The new signs will advise slower speeds and alert drivers to the congestion and flagging ahead. These signs will improve the safety of the intersection and the efficiency of deploying the flaggers – a major factor in the department’s decision to increase flagging days.

The 2021 flagging operation is the direct result of robust engagement between ITD and the communities in Boise and Valley County. In fall 2019, ITD held a public meeting in Garden Valley to discuss the challenges of the intersection. Following that meeting, the department formed a community working group which spent 2020 developing this plan.

“I want to thank the community for partnering with us on this situation,” added Lakey. “We all want to see business flourish while preserving the unique beauty of Idaho’s Central Mountains. The impacts of growth in southwest Idaho is felt in every community. The public servants at ITD are doing everything we can to meet the growing needs. All users of the road need to take responsibility to plan ahead, drive well, and make wise decisions.”

ITD encourages those traveling from or through the McCall/New Meadows area to consider using U.S. 95 as an alternate route. Those with trips from Stanley or Lowman should consider using Idaho Highway 21 to avoid the congested intersection.

Be sure to Recreate Responsibly. Pack plenty of water and snacks, ensure your vehicle is well maintained, fill your gas tank before long trips, and take a restroom break before traveling through a remote location. Check out road conditions and travel delays before you leave by downloading the Idaho 511 app, available for Apple and Android devices.

ITD launches two-week virtual meeting (May 21-June 4) to share next steps for Idaho 16 extension

Idaho Highway 16 in the Treasure Valley

The Idaho Transportation Department launches a two-week online meeting today (May 21) to share plans for the next phase of extending Idaho Highway 16 through the central Treasure Valley. The meeting will be available from May 21 to June 4 at itdprojects.org/idaho16.

The meeting includes a virtual tour and design plans for the future north-south corridor, which is currently the primary route to Emmett. ITD is extending the corridor 5.5 miles south to connect with I-84.

Online Public Meeting Invite

The extension of Idaho 16 will operate as a high-speed expressway, with limited access on or off it. By 2040, the highway is expected to serve 60,000 motorists each day in the growing area between Ada and Canyon counties.

“This corridor has been in the making for many years and the community has given input at many important stages of this significant highway corridor,” said ITD Program Manager Amy Schroeder. “All of the design plans in this online meeting are consistent with the overall vision and allows ITD to proceed to construction next year.”

Phase 1 of the corridor was completed in 2014 and involved bridging Idaho 16 over the Boise River and connecting U.S. 20/26 and Idaho 44.

On Wednesday, the Idaho Transportation Board approved funding to construct the next phase of the extension. Phase 2, the focus of the online meeting, will build the remaining five miles of highway from U.S. 20/26 to I-84. This includes an interchange with I-84, connections at Franklin and Ustick Roads, and bridge structures over local roads, canals, and a railroad.

The estimated cost of this work is $170 million. It will be funded using bonds and paid off using new sales tax funds approved by the Idaho Legislature in 2021.

“The work we have done on the Idaho 16 corridor in the last few years has prepared us to quickly leverage this new funding stream,” said Schroeder. “We have an obligation to the taxpayer to make the most of the today’s low interest rates and bring needed transportation investments to Idaho quickly.”

The online meeting will include live Q&A sessions from 12-1 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. on June 2. Alternate versions of the meeting are available for those without Internet access. Please contact ITD at (208) 334-8008 or Idaho16@ITD.Idaho.gov.

Idaho Transportation Board puts new money to work across Idaho

LEWISTON – The Idaho Transportation Board approved dozens of new road projects across every corner of the state Wednesday afternoon (May 19) during its regular monthly meeting in Lewiston. The projects include $350 million in construction work that is expected to begin sometime next year.

Many of the projects are part of Idaho Governor Brad Little’s “Building Idaho’s Future” transportation funding solution.

“Idaho is the fastest growing state in the nation. To keep up with the demands of a fast-growing state, our historic transportation funding solution helps save Idahoans’ time, keeps us safe on our roads, and makes our state’s economy even stronger,” Governor Little said. “I appreciate the Idaho Transportation Board for acting quickly to put these new funds to work.”

Projects approved today that are ready now include $170 million of Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds to expand Idaho State Highway 16 from its current location at US-20/26 (Chinden Blvd.) to Interstate 84. The board also dedicated $37 million of TECM funds to expand US-20/26 to four lanes from Middleton Road to I-84. Both projects should be under construction next year and will likely be bonded.

In addition, the board approved about $140 million in projects with one-time funds from the Building Idaho’s Future program, along with federal and state COVID Relief funds. This statewide group of projects is focused on critical maintenance and safety needs for highways and bridges from Ashton in eastern Idaho, to the Magic Valley and north to Wallace.

Check this link to see the full list of projects approved across the state.

“We want to thank the Idaho Legislature and Governor for one of the most significant transportation investments in state history,” said Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Bill Moad. “Our goal as a board is to be great stewards of this funding. We will work with the department to pick the projects across Idaho that will have the greatest return on investment in improving safety, increasing mobility and addressing Idaho’s rapid growth.”

In addition to $350 million in construction that will begin next year, the board also approved nearly $170 million for project development. This includes environmental planning, design and right-of-way acquisition.

“Project development is very important. The Board wants the department to have projects ready for the Building Idaho’s Future program and to be constantly advancing additional work for any future federal or state funding opportunities,” said Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Bill Moad. “It is our goal to put the money to work as soon as it becomes available.”

The TECM fund was increased to $80 million through House Bill 362 signed by Governor Little earlier this month. The Idaho Transportation Department will leverage those ongoing funds into a Building Idaho’s Future bonding program that could yield as much as $1.6 billion. The goal is to have major safety and expansion corridors financed over the next six to eight years with the bond proceeds.

ITD staff will present potential projects and corridors to include in the bonding program to the Idaho Transportation Board by the end of this year.