The Idaho Transportation Department will be repairing a signal pole and making traffic signal improvements to the intersections of Alameda and Yellowstone and Cedar and Yellowstone. The work will be performed at night (9 p.m.-5 a.m.) beginning Sunday evening, June 12th and will continue through July 10th. During daylight hours, all businesses will have normal access along Yellowstone, Alameda and Cedar for the duration of the project.
When complete, new sensors will provide better recognition of traffic at the intersection stop bars. Long range radar will provide information on approaching traffic to improve the flow of traffic through these two busy intersections.
ITD will begin work at the northwest corner of Cedar and Yellowstone to pour a new foundation as part of replacing a damaged signal pole.
Work will then move to Alameda and Yellowstone where there will be temporary single lane closures during the nighttime work period (9 p.m. – 5 a.m.). All lanes will be reopened after 5 a.m. and will remain open until 9 p.m.
When Alameda is complete, work will move back to Cedar and will proceed in a similar manner as Alameda.
POCATELLO – The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is hosting an open house from June 6 – 13 to share information and gather public input about designs to widen I-15 between the Northgate Parkway Interchange (Exit 73) and Blackfoot.
“Most of I-15 was constructed in the 1960s and 1970s and it is aging and nearing capacity in some areas,” said ITD District 5 Engineering Manager Eric Staats. “We are excited to be moving forward with a planning and design process to improve safety and capacity on I-15 between Pocatello and Blackfoot.”
The I-15 Northgate to Blackfoot Project is part of a multi-year planning process to improve I-15 between Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
“This project between the Northgate Interchange and Blackfoot will provide environmental clearance and develop widening options for future projects,” said Staats. “We would like the public’s input on the widening options that are being developed.”
The public is invited to stop by the open house any time between 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 8 at the Shoshone-Bannock Casino Hotel, Chief Targhee Room (777 Bannock Road) in Fort Hall. ITD will be on hand to discuss the project and proposed widening improvement options.
Elements of this project are being funded with Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds as part of the Leading Idaho TECM Program. To address the state’s rapid growth, the legislature passed a historic transportation revenue package that Governor Little signed as part of his Leading Idaho initiative in May 2021. House Bill 362 raised the percentage of sales tax going towards transportation from 1% to 4.5%, with bonding authority granted to ITD to invest in safety and capacity needs across the state. 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.
POCATELLO – The Idaho Transportation Department has accepted a $111.9 million winning bid by Sundt-Cannon, a joint venture, to rebuild the I-86/I-15 system interchange at Pocatello. Work is scheduled to begin mid-July and will continue for approximately three years as the interchange undergoes modernization.
The old interchange was built in the mid-1960s and the aging and obsolete bridges need to be replaced. In addition, Pocatello and Chubbuck have grown significantly to the north of I-86 and east of I-15. Through traffic has also increased resulting in more congestion in the interchange.
Currently, a particularly challenging spot for drivers travelling west toward Chubbuck from the Pocatello Creek onramp. “Drivers have just 2,400 feet to move from the right lane to the far left lane to exit to I-86. This results in difficult maneuvers,” said District Engineer Todd Hubbard.
To eliminate this problem the new design will allow through traffic travelling north toward Idaho Falls to remain in a left lane. Motorists entering the freeway northbound from Pocatello Creek can continue north to merge with northbound traffic or they can merge with westbound traffic passing under a bridge to head toward Chubbuck. “This also eliminates traffic merging from the left coming from Chubbuck. That’s important because drivers expect merging traffic to come from the right,” said Co-Project Manager, Zak Johnson.
Construction will also include a significant change for Chubbuck Road. Currently the road passes over I-15 and has limited accommodation for bicyclists and pedestrians traveling toward the Wellness Complex. The new design makes Chubbuck Road into an underpass with sidewalk and bicycle lanes.
In addition, a north-south bicycle and pedestrian pathway is planned to help facilitate linking Pocatello Creek Road with the Portneuf Wellness Complex. This was designed in coordination with the Greenway Foundation. “Bicycle and pedestrian access to the Highland area was something the community saw as very important,” said Co-Project Manager, Greg Roberts.
The joint venture of Sundt Construction from Utah and Cannon Builders from Blackfoot is currently reviewing the project design and preparing a work schedule. Some equipment may be moved into position prior to the mid-July construction start date.
Motorists are encouraged to watch this I-86/I-15 Interchange overview video to understand how the new design will function. During construction it is important that drivers follow signage, slow down, and exercise caution.
This project is partially funded with Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) funds as part of Governor Little’s 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.
IDAHO – National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW) will be observed April 11-15 with this year’s theme of “Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down.” The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is asking motorists to observe NWZAW and prepare to safely drive through work zones across Idaho.
As part of NWZAW, Idahoans are encouraged
to participate in Go Orange Day on April 13 by wearing orange as a visual reminder of work zones. Photos can be posted on social media using the hashtags #NWZAW and #GoOrange4Safety.
The awareness week ends with a moment of silence on April 15 for people killed in work zone incidents.
Statistics from the National Work Zone Safety
Information Clearinghouse demonstrate the importance of work zone safety and participating in NWZAW to spread the message that everyone has a role in getting roadway workers home safely.
There were 762 fatal crashes in work zones resulting in 842 deaths in 2019.
Of the 842 fatalities in 2019, 135 were roadway workers.
Most people killed in work zones were motorists, passengers, and pedestrians.
NWZAW has been observed for more than 20 years and was launched as a public awareness campaign to help everyone understand they play a role in keeping motorists and roadway workers safe.
As construction season kicks off around the state, it’s important for drivers to remember that work zones come in all shapes and sizes. They can be long or short duration and can occur anywhere, from the middle of a large city to even the most rural routes. ITD encourages all motorists to plan ahead, follow signs, and drive engaged each time they get behind the wheel.
The department will be examining roads across the state and making improvements to eliminate restrictions whenever possible.
Three routes (two on SH-36 and one on SH-34) restricted the size of trucks that could use the routes, and the detour could be as severe as 150 miles. It was causing a major disruption in the economic opportunity and freedom of movement in the area.
ITD engineer Kevin Sonico modeled some proposed solutions, and the D5 office in Pocatello ran some field tests, traveling behind some larger commercial trucks to test the width variables that the computer models had suggested. Evan Snow and Jerry Bauer filmed Dan Daniels as he drove a truck on the routes. Kevin’s models were verified. A local trucker offered to run the route in his slightly larger truck as well. Again, the computer model was validated.
The change was implemented in May 2021, opening up more routes for the trucking community in the southeast Idaho area. This has eliminated significant detours, saving countless hours of drive time.
“We have seen an increase in trucks on the routes,” D5 District Engineer Todd Hubbard said. “We know the routes are safe and the carriers are ablr to take the best possible route to their destination. This change has saved significant time and money for the trucking industry.”
With snow in the forecast for several regions in the state, the Idaho Transportation Department would like to remind drivers how to travel with plows on the road.
In just the last two weeks, there have been four incidents of drivers striking plows and two incidents of drivers forcing them off the road. This compares to eight plow strikes recorded last year. Most of the collisions have occurred after other drivers tried passing plows on the right.
Drivers should be aware that most ITD trucks have two plows: one on the front, and one that extends from the right side known as a wing plow. Lights alert drivers to the presence of wing plows, but during storms those lights and the wing plows can be obscured by plumes of snow.
So far this winter, plows have been struck in nearly every region of the state:
On Dec. 9, a plow was hit on Interstate 90 near the Rose Lake exit when a driver tried to pass on the right.
On Dec. 14, a plow on U.S. Highway 95 near Moscow was forced off the road to avoid hitting a vehicle that had lost control and was in the opposing lane.*
On Dec. 16, a plow was hit on U.S. Highway 20 near Ashton and on Interstate 84 near Twin Falls. Both incidents involved drivers trying to pass on the right. That same night a plow on US-95 near Winchester was forced off the road to avoid hitting a vehicle that had lost control and was in the opposing lane.
The latest plow strike occurred this morning on I-90 near Osburn. Another vehicle attempted to pass the plow on the right, collided with the wing and forced the plow off the road. The driver then fled the scene. The Idaho State Police are investigating the incident.
To date no one has been injured. However, plows must be checked for any damage before being put back into service, which stretches resources thin with a direct impact to driving conditions.
“This time of year drivers need to take their time and never pass a plow on the right,” said Jerry Wilson, the operations engineer for North Idaho. “Let’s all get home safely.”
Ahead of the busy holiday travel season, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) encourages drivers to be “Idaho Ready” for winter driving. ITD’s annual winter safety campaign aims to help drivers prepare for challenging conditions on the state’s highways, before hitting the road.
“Idaho Ready” tips and resources will be shared weekly through ITD’s social media accounts and website itd.idaho.gov/travel. Short videos, blog posts, infographics, and photos will teach drivers how to safely get around this winter. Planned topics include navigating the new Idaho 511, general winter driving tips for Idaho newcomers, how to keep vehicles ready for colder temperatures, and snowplow ride along videos to hear safety advice straight from ITD operators.
Each winter ITD’s 550 hardworking snowplow operators travel a combined 3.4 million miles clearing roads across the state. “Idaho Ready” also focuses on keeping these important employees safe. When encountering a snowplow on the road, drivers are reminded, the safest place is behind the plow—never pass a snowplow on the right.
Other quick winter travel tips:
Check the road conditions before traveling. Visit 511.idaho.gov or download the Idaho 511 app for an easy look at weather reports, cameras, and more. Idaho 511 updates are now tweeted too! Follow @Idaho511 on Twitter.
Keep a winter emergency kit in your car with food/water, small shovel, warm blanket, etc.
When roads are wet or icy, slow down and give yourself more stopping distance. Turn off cruise control and remember, bridges and overpasses are the first to freeze when temperatures drop.
If you do slide, stay calm, brake very gently, and turn your wheel in the direction of the skid. Try not to overcorrect.
Keep your windshield completely clear of snow and ice. Fill up on windshield washer fluid, make sure your tires are in good shape, and battery is charged. Learn how to use tire chains and carry them with you.
Give our snowplow drivers room to work. Never pass a snowplow on the right! The safest place is behind the plow where the road is clear.
Let others know your travel plans, especially if you will be driving through areas with no cell service. Check in when you make it.
Beware of drowsy driving! Stop and rest when needed, and plan breaks on long road trips. Rest areas are mapped on Idaho 511.
If your holiday celebrations include alcohol, plan ahead for a sober ride home. Look out for your friends and family and help them get home safely too.
Buckle up, stay engaged behind the wheel, and drive for the conditions this winter.
Follow along with ITD and the Idaho Ready campaign this winter:
Competing against the top operators from the region and the country, the four-person team from ITD won the national team title at the 2021 Western Snow & Ice Conference in Colorado on September 29.
The four maintenance men who made the trip were Brandon Steffens (representing the Southeast Idaho region), Jed Henderson (North Idaho), Stacey McCurdy (East Idaho), and Dakota Morgan (South-Central Idaho), pictured left to right, below.
“It was inspiring for me to see the enthusiasm this team of first-time participants brought to the competition; and continued with it to win the National Equipment title,” said ITD Roadeo Coordinator Kelley Dick. “They each did a great job individually, and represented ITD well. It’s about more than a skills competition, though – this just shows that we are providing top-notch service to the driving public.”
ITD’s mastery of skills translates into better service in clearing ice and snow from the highways for Idaho’s drivers.
The department was able to bring four people to the event, rather than the usual two because the pandemic kept ITD from sending anyone last year.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity,” said McCurdy, who made his first trip to the nationals after 26 district competitions.
“It’s amazing to see how well we worked as a team with all of us coming from different districts,” said Morgan.
Along with demonstrating a mastery of skills and knowledge, the event also allows participants to share best practices.
“We are very proud of our successful top ITD Equipment Roadeo leaders representing Idaho successfully this year in the Western States annual event,” said ITD’s Chief Operations Officer Dan McElhinney. “Thanks to them for their commitment to safety and skills excellence.”
Along with the national team title, there were a number of top ten finishes by the participants, adding to ITD’s history in the event.
Idaho legislators, representatives from the National League of POW-MIA Families, community members and the Idaho Transportation Department will officially celebrate the naming of US-26 in Idaho as the “POW-MIA Memorial Highway” at 2 p.m. Wednesday, October 6, 2021, at the Carey City Park – Boyd Stocking Pavilion.
During the 2021 Idaho legislative session, HB132aa sponsored by Representative Scott Syme and Senator Patti Anne Lodge, formally designated and named US-26 in Idaho, the POW-MIA Memorial Highway. The bill unanimously passed both chambers, respectively, and was signed by Governor Little in April.
Idaho is home to eight soldiers designated as MIA and the City of Carey happens to be home to one of those individuals. Jon Michael Sparks was a helicopter pilot for the US Army and was lost in Long Binh Province, Laos, on March 19, 1971.
US-26 in Idaho runs from the Oregon border to the Wyoming border. The highway naming is part of a nationwide effort to designate US-26 as the POW-MIA Memorial Highway from coast to coast, with several other states participating over the years as well.
There are 10 locations across US-26 in southern Idaho where new POW-MIA Memorial Highway signs will be installed.
As the Idaho Transportation Department updates its Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Transition Plan, the public is encouraged to learn more about plans to invest nearly $35 million into projects and services over the next 15 years.
ADA Transition is the process of eliminating accessibility barriers to existing pedestrian infrastructure on the state highway system. It also helps identify programs that fund improvements through a coordinated effort with local highway districts and other municipalities.
In an effort to gather feedback about the plan, ITD will host an online survey as part of a 30-day public comment period that begins Sept. 17. The survey can be accessed at itd.idaho.gov/planning by clicking on the link. The survey is available 24 hours a day.
Staff will also hold a virtual public information meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 6:00 p.m. Mountain time.
You can find the meeting link posted online at itd.idaho.gov/planning or by emailing ADA@itd.idaho.gov.
Comments and feedback shared during this public involvement phase will be incorporated into a draft ADA Transition Plan, that will become official after review and approval by the Federal Highway Administration and Idaho Transportation Board later this fall.
For questions or to learn more about ADA Transition, please email ADA@itd.idaho.gov or call (208)332-7823.