US-26 projects begin today

Road Work Ahead sign

IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Transportation Department is beginning two projects today along US-26 east of Idaho Falls. The first project consists of adding a 3-mile passing lane at Antelope Flat. The second project will add turning lanes into the rest area at the bottom of Clark Hill. Both jobs will take until October to complete.

While construction is underway at Antelope Flat there will be lane closures with flaggers to control traffic. For the Clark Hill project, ITD will keep one lane in each direction open.

Motorists are reminded to follow posted speed limits, obey flaggers, and drive cautiously through work areas.

Construction to begin in July at Ashton

Ashton Intersection

 
ASHTON – Beginning July 6 the Idaho Transportation Department will commence work on two projects at Ashton. The first project, at the intersection of US-20 and SH-47 in Ashton, will consist of extensive work to improve safety and traffic flow. The second project will be a pavement overlay along SH-47 beginning near North Fremont High School and continuing to Bear Gulch.

The US-20 / SH-47 intersection project will consist of a stoplight, new curb and sidewalks, storm sewer work, and pavement. Work is scheduled to be completed in October. Traffic patterns will change periodically to allow for construction.

A public meeting will be held on Wednesday June 29, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at the Ashton City hall for those that wish to discuss construction plans at the intersection and express concerns.

The paving project on SH-47 east of Ashton will last for approximately 15 days. Crews will be microsurfacing the roadway to improve and protect the road surface. During work there will be single lane closures and pilot cars to control traffic flow.

Motorists are asked to watch for workers and equipment, follow all traffic signs and flaggers, and reduce speeds to posted limits. Traffic control and safety devices will be changing often to accommodate construction activities.

Citizens with questions regarding the US-20 / SH-47 intersection can contact HK Contractors at (208) 523-6600.

Those with questions regarding the SH-47 microsurfacing project can call the Idaho Transportation Department District 6 office at (208) 745-7781.

US-93 Between Challis and Salmon to be closed Tuesday for emergency culvert replacement

Road Work Ahead sign

 

CHALLIS – On Tuesday, June 7 at 8:00 am the Idaho Transportation Department will be closing US-93 north of Cow Creek Road between Challis and Salmon to replace a collapsed culvert. Work is expected to take approximately four hours. “Unfortunately, due to the nature of the work and the location we’ll have to close the road completely to replace the culvert,” said ITD Area Manager Cody Schmidt. “We’ll do everything we can to finish the repair as quickly as possible since there is no local detour route available.”

Gravel fill has been added to ensure the safety of the public until the repair can be completed. Drivers should slow when approaching the area and follow reduced speed limit signs to avoid windshield damage. Motorists are encouraged to check 511.idaho.gov or the 511 app for the latest updates on construction, detours, and road closures.

ITD to hold open house on I-15 planning project between Northgate and Blackfoot

Vehicles on I-15

 
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.

Map of project area with description of anticipated improvements
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“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.

The same information will also be available online at https://itdprojects.org/projects/i-15northgatetoblackfoot/ between June 6 – 13. Participants can review materials online and submit comments.

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.

For more information, please visit the project website at https://itdprojects.org/projects/i-15northgatetoblackfoot/

 

Traffic light at US-26 and Woodruff in Idaho Falls being replaced following accident

Workers and truck working on damaged light pole
ITD District 6 employees examine the damaged pole at the intersection of US-26 and Woodruff

IDAHO FALLS – The Idaho Transportation Department is advising drivers to use caution at the intersection of US-26 (North Yellowstone Highway) and North Woodruff Avenue. Following a vehicle collision with a signal pole, ITD will be turning the intersection into a four-way stop until repairs can be completed.

“The vehicle’s impact was bad enough that it moved the signal pole foundation over a foot,” said Wade Allan, District 6 Traffic and Materials Manager. “We’re going to have to repour the foundation along with other significant work to get the light operational again.”

Due to the extent of the repairs needed, there is no estimate yet for when the light will be replaced.

Public invited to review alternatives for US-20 improvements from Ashton to Idaho State Highway 87

RIGBY — The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will host two public meetings to share information about its Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study and alternatives examining ways to modernize, improve safety, and reduce congestion on US-20 between Ashton and the SH-87 junction. ITD intends to adopt the findings of the PEL study into a future federal environmental clearance process.

The purpose of these meetings is to share alternatives developed from public workshops and the results of the screening committee. ITD will gather public comment on alternatives moving forward including concerns about environmental impacts. Information on access management strategies and opportunities for multi-use crossings along the corridor will also be shared. The public has two opportunities to participate. Both meetings will share the same information.

May 25, 2022,
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Island Park EMS Building
4378 County Circle
Island Park, ID 83429

May 26, 2022
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Ashton Community Center and Library
925 Main Street
Ashton, ID 83420

Increasing traffic is causing congestion and crashes. Improvements are needed to maintain a safe roadway, meet driver expectations, and provide a reliable connection to adjacent communities, Yellowstone National Park, and the region.

Using technical data and input gathered at public meetings in October and December 2021, the project team developed dozens of alternatives that have been evaluated against a range of criteria, including safety, capacity, and environmental impacts to identify the most promising alternatives for additional consideration.

Both meetings will be held in an open house format. Please stop by any time from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For those who can’t attend in person, an online meeting will be available from May 26 through June 9 at itdprojects.org/projects/us-20-ashton-to-sh-87-jct/

The comment period will remain open until June 9, 2022.

ITD Preparing Projects on I-86 Through Power County

AMERICAN FALLS – The Idaho Transportation Department is beginning the summer work schedule with several projects in the I-86 corridor through Power County. These projects include repairing the Rockland Exit 36 bridge, repairing the Sunbeam and Seagull Bay bridges, and a pavement preservation project along I-86 through Power County.

The Rockland Interchange repair is scheduled to begin in June and will consist of surface repairs, girder repairs, and the installation of a new waterproof membrane for the deck. Motorists should expect some delays.

The Sunbeam and Seagull Bay bridge repairs are scheduled to begin in early August. Both will undergo surface repairs and new concrete overlays. During construction, traffic will be moved to one side of the interstate via crossovers and slowed through the construction area. Motorists should expect some detours during this project.

The pavement preservation project will consist of a micro-seal application which is intended to extend the lifespan of the pavement. ITD currently plans to perform this work after the bridge repair projects are completed. The micro-seal application is scheduled to be completed by the end of September. During work there will be lane closures and reduced speeds in work zones.

Drivers are encouraged to check 511.idaho.gov or the 511 app for the latest updates on construction and road conditions.

Power and Franklin Counties Recognized for Zero Highway Fatalities

Photo of award recipients and ITD management

POCATELLO – At the Transportation Board Meeting held in Pocatello today the Idaho Transportation Department presented their “Zero Fatality” award to Franklin County and Power County.

ITD recognizes communities along with state and local law enforcement that have logged zero highway fatalities for the year. Representatives from Franklin County Sherriff’s office, Power County Sheriff’s office, Idaho State Police, and ITD employees who work in those counties were on-hand to receive the awards.

ITD is committed to working toward the goal of zero fatalities and the efforts by counties to work toward that goal deserve to be recognized.

As ITD moves into the construction season motorists are encouraged to drive safely to protect themselves, other motorists, and the crews building and repairing Idaho’s roads.

 

Work Zones are a Sign to Slow Down

Work zones are a sign to slow down

National Work Zone Awareness Week is April 11-15

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.

To learn more about NWZAW, visit nwzaw.org.

ITD issues reminder on plow safety following six incidents in two weeks

Stock photo of another vehicle hitting a plow

Stock photo shown above. 

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.”

Know before you go and check 511.idaho.gov for road conditions before traveling. For winter driving tips, visit itd.idaho.gov/travel.

*Post updated Dec. 23 to reflect that this near-collision occurred on Dec. 17 on Palouse River Drive near the Moscow shed.