Construction on Idaho Highway 50 north of Kimberly to begin next week

Weather permitting, road rehabilitation work is expected to begin next week on Idaho Highway 50 from Red Cap Corner north of Kimberly to Tipperary Road near Exit 182. Work will encompass approximately five miles of roadway including the Hansen Bridge.

Traffic on this section of ID-50 will be reduced to one lane throughout the work zone. Pilot cars and flaggers will be present during working hours which is expected to occur seven days a week, 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Motorists should anticipate minor delays and watch for reduced speeds and crew members.

Main construction on the project is expected to be completed in May. Additional sealcoat work is scheduled to occur later in the summer.

The general contractor is Knife River from Boise.

ITD reminds drivers of safety in work zones during construction season

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) reminds motorists to drive carefully through work zones — for their own safety and the safety of construction workers.

ITD has more than a dozen projects planned this year in District Four. Every project is different in terms of road pattern changes and reduced speed limits.

Each year, ITD draws special attention to safe driving in or near work zones during Work Zone Awareness Week, April 8-12.

Replacement of North Side Canal Bridge deck on I-84 to occur in Jerome County

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin work Monday (April 8) on replacement of an eastbound bridge deck spanning the North Side Canal on Interstate 84 south of Hazelton (MP 194).

Eastbound and westbound traffic on this portion of I-84 will be reduced to one lane throughout the work zone. The eastbound interstate on-ramp at Exit 194 will also be closed for the duration of this project.

Drivers should expect reduced speeds throughout the work zone and watch for crews during working hours – Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Work is expected to be completed in June.

The contractor on this project is Knife River of Boise.

Bridge replacements on US-20 in Camas and Blaine counties to begin next week

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin work April 1, 2019 on two bridge construction projects along US-20. The new crossings will be located over Willow Creek in Camas County (MP 164) and Rock Creek in Blaine County (MP 173).

During construction, ITD will remove aging culverts and surrounding earthwork at both locations, and construct new crossings over the waterways.

“Due to age and corrosion of the pipelines, both culverts are in need of replacement,” said ITD Project Manager Brock Dillé. “We analyzed multiple options regarding these crossings before determining that bridge designs would have the best long term value for both Willow Creek and Rock Creek.”

The structure spanning Willow Creek will be a 170-foot steel girder bridge while the structure spanning Rock Creek will be a 159-foot concrete girder bridge. As an added result of the forthcoming bridge structures, ITD will also be able to restore the streams to a more natural condition, which in turn should have a positive effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

Construction on the crossings will occur simultaneously. Each work zone is anticipated to encompass one mile with approximately seven miles between each site.

Click here for a map of the region.

Traffic will be reduced to one lane in the construction zone with width restrictions anticipated. Temporary traffic lights will be in place throughout the duration of the project and reduced speed limits will also be in effect.

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 dial 5-1-1 or visit 511.idaho.gov fo r information on the state highway or interstate system.

Work is expected to last through December.

Knife River is the contractor for both projects.

Overnight detour planned next week for I-84/86 Salt Lake Interchange project east of Burley

Traffic will be detoured overnight next week for motorists heading eastbound on Interstate 84 from Burley toward Pocatello as crews work to place girders on the newly constructed bridge.

This is part of the Salt Lake Interchange replacement project, underway since May of last year. Construction is scheduled to finish by late 2020.

This temporary traffic pattern is expected to be in effect between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. during the nights girders are placed. Work is anticipated to be completed within a week.

“Detouring traffic around this portion of the work zone ensures the safety of motorists who would otherwise be traveling underneath the bridge,” said ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock. “Crews will be working to place the girders at night in order to reduce traffic impacts during peak traveling hours.”

Drivers should still anticipate reduced speeds through the work zone and pay close attention to signage which will be in place to safely direct motorists through the area.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

District and HQ collaborate to expedite I-84 bridge repair

Earlier last week, crews in District 4 worked with the Headquarters Bridge section to repair damaged bridge joints on Interstate 84 near Glenns Ferry. It was most likely damaged due to the lower position of that joint compared to the rest of bridge deck and the resulting impact and vibration of passing vehicles. You can hear it on this video.

During a routine inspection, HQ Bridge Inspector Toby Griffin found that a portion of the bridge joint was missing, and another section was broken and loose.

“I was in the area doing a routine inspection of railroad structures below when I heard loud clanking sounds coming from the bridge deck above,” said Griffin. “This was not normal, so I investigated further and discovered the broken joint.”

Toby texted a photo of the damage to his supervisor, Dan Gorley, who quickly reached out to D4 Maintenance Coordinator Shawn Webb.

After discussing the situation, it was determined that a lane closure would ensure the safety of motorists driving westbound on the interstate. Despite it being after normal working hours, crews were onsite and implementing traffic control within the hour, while district and headquarter personnel worked into the evening to develop an emergency repair plan.

The following morning, crews were dispatched to the bridge deck to begin work. Repairs included removal of broken bolts, rethreading of damaged base plates, and welding and re-installment of the broken finger joint section.

“This was a great example of ITD personnel working together in an efficient and collaborative effort to ensure successful execution of one of the department’s key mission points – safety,” said Webb. “Four separate crews came together quickly to work as one to find a viable solution that allowed us to reopen the roadway within 24 hours of the initial discovery.”

The Bliss Foreman area crew, the D4 Bridge crew, the D4 Welder/Machinist, and personnel from HQ’s Bridge Inspection crew all participated in repair efforts of the broken bridge joint.

Planning is underway for development of a strategy to address the joints located on the westbound and eastbound bridges at this location. Webb stated that “the goal is to have a more permanent solution regarding this issue in the near future.”

Union Pacific Railroad Bridge Replacement in Gooding County

US-30 Construction

As early as mid-February, US-30 west of Bliss to Interstate 84 will be closed while the Union Pacific Railroad Bridge undergoes replacement. Motorists traveling to Bliss via I-84 will need to use Exit 141.

Construction work will include installment of a new box culvert as well as utility relocation. The new bridge structure will have an increased width to allow for larger vehicles to pass. Approximately 1.5 miles of US-30 will also be reconstructed as part of this project.

Subject to weather conditions, work is expected to be complete this fall. The railroad will continue to be operational throughout construction.

Western Construction, Inc. from Boise is the contractor for this project.

The Idaho Transportation Department is responsible for all highways on the State Highway System – interstates, state highways and U.S. routes. All other roads are under the jurisdiction of the local, city or county entity.

D4’s Brumfield uses Wishes for Warriors program

With so much time spent within the walls of our respective trucks, sheds, cubicles and offices, it’s easy to forget that each and every ITD employee lives a life outside of the department. Some may appear to be more colorful than others, more peppered with joy or riddled with strife, but each one has a story to tell should he or she be willing to share.

Let’s take a look this week at Brent Brumfield, a GIS Analyst who joined District 4 of ITD just over a year ago, in December of 2017. Brumfield spends a lot of his time outside of work giving back to those who have given so much to this country.

Originally from Calistoga, California, Brent moved to south-central Idaho via Billings, Montana, where he majored in Environmental Management and Policy at Rocky Mountain College. During his last semester of college, he accepted an offer from AECOM to handle oil and gas remediation, thus kick-starting his professional career.

But his story begins long before Brent accepted his first GIS job offer. In fact, it begins before he even went to college. As a young man of 20 years, he made the decision to join the United States Marine Corps. This story starts there.

“I was really looking for something to change my course in life and I thought that the Marine Corps might be good way to do that,” Brent explained. “I was very close with my grandfather growing up, and he had served as a Marine during WWII. The time he spent serving his country instilled a great amount of pride in my grandfather, and that remained a defining part of his character for the entirety of his life.”

Although Brent knew he was ready for a change in life, he admits he “had no idea what I was getting into.”

“I went from working as a store clerk and in construction jobs, to driving a 26-ton ‘water tank’ carrying 21 Marines (fully loaded) from ship to shore to established beachheads.”

Brent served eight years in the Marines as an Amphibious Assault Vehicle Crewman. He deployed to Iraq once in 2006 and again in 2007 (as part of the 22nd MEU), got married, and even had a son while serving his country. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and also at Camp Pendleton in California.

After his tenure in the Marine Corps, Brent moved his family to Montana in order to pursue his education. His time in the service was never far from his mind, however, and Brent soon discovered there were other ways he could continue to serve his fellow veterans.

“I got involved with Wishes for Warriors when a friend of mine reached out and asked if I would help organize a waterfowl hunt,” said Brumfield. “I had actually participated in one with Wounded Warrior Battalion back when I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, and that experience had a profound and lasting impression on me.”

Brent believes that giving back to others who have been less fortunate during their time of service is crucial in the road to healing.

“During the time of my grandfather, everyone served in the military, so there were people these men and women could talk to and relate with upon their return from war. That changed after Vietnam,” Brent stated “when suddenly service members returned from duty and felt as though they had to keep their military service and experiences bottled up inside.”

“That’s a big part of why I do what I do. Often times it’s less about hunting and more about being that person willing to lend an ear to someone who simply needs to talk about what they went through then, and what they are going through now.”

Brent, along with Wishes for Warriors, feels that outdoor activities are a great way for veterans to bond – particularly when they happen to be facing some struggles either on an internal or external level.

“It’s always great to see these guys who are down, and within the first day of hunting, there’s a personality shift and their overall outlook is like night and day. Suddenly, they are talking and smiling, and you can see that both a physical and mental change has occurred.”

So what’s on the radar next for Brent? Well, he’s currently working with Wishes for Warriors to organize a fishing trip for salmon and steelhead. “We’re hoping to get out on the water sometime in the next few months,” Brent said. “Hopefully the fish will be biting that day.”

If you would like more information on the Wishes for Warriors organization, or to see how to participate, visit www.wishesforwarriorscorp.org.

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.”

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.