ITD Snowplow Strikes ISP Patrol Car

SWAN VALLEY – An Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) snowplow struck an Idaho State Police (ISP) patrol car at approximately 8:30 this morning during white-out conditions. The incident occurred in the westbound lane on U.S. Highway 26 near Swan Valley.

The patrol car was occupied by two ISP troopers who were at the scene of an earlier crash when the snowplow rear-ended the patrol car.  Both troopers were transported by car to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center to be checked out as a precautionary measure.

US-26 was closed in both directions between Ririe and Swan Valley from milepost 355 to milepost 377 due to wind, drifting snow and reduced visibility. There were multiple collisions reported in the region.

“We are grateful that everyone was able to walk away from this crash,” ITD District 6 Engineer Jason Minzghor said. “We appreciate our partners at ISP and our ITD crews out there risking their lives to try and keep the roads as safe as possible during these harsh conditions.”

Several highways were closed in the region due to inclement weather.

Extreme Cold May Result in Additional Road Closures

A snowy highway in East Idaho

RIGBY – As extreme cold continues in East Idaho, the Idaho Transportation Department is asking motorists to plan ahead and check the website before hitting the roads. “It’s vitally important that drivers are paying close attention to current conditions,” said ITD Public Information Officer Justin Smith. “We always try to keep roads open, but when conditions become unsafe for our plow drivers we have to close the roads to protect everyone.”

Smith also noted that drivers checking the 511 website or using the newly updated version of the 511 app might see a webcam of one portion of the road that looks fine, but other sections may not be safe. “With the changes in altitude at places like the Ashton Hill conditions can be vastly different from Idaho Falls or Henry’s Lake.”

Those changing conditions can also be dangerous. The National Weather Service announced over the weekend that wind chills are dropping to -15°F to -40°F. At -30°F exposed skin can freeze in as little as 10 minutes. That means motorists must be sure to have their vehicle serviced. A poorly maintained vehicle can leave someone stranded.

AAA notes ( several other precautions motorists should take:

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your car, such as extra food and water, warm clothing (including additional clothing for every passenger), a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of tread.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
  • Stay home and only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.

It is especially important to consider children, the disabled, and elderly who may be passengers. “Sometimes we forget that children and vulnerable adults do not have the ability to maintain body temperature. Kids like to go out without enough cold weather protection, but parents should ensure there are coats, hats, gloves, and other necessities are available if needed,” Smith said.

This winter has become more challenging as District 6 has lost a number of plow drivers leaving 17 vacant positions open. “We do have a few relief plow drivers to help with the vacancies, but it’s not enough to take the pressure off,” said Bryan Young. “This number includes employees who are retiring or are out for extended health reasons. We do have a few new hires, but they will not be 100% this winter.”

The vacant positions may make it necessary to close roads sooner than motorists may be used to. When fully staffed multiple plow drivers can work the same highway from both directions. However, with fewer plows on the road it may not be possible to keep a road open. This is especially the case where snowfall is heavy and strong winds are blowing.

ITD has also been dealing with numerous plow strikes and drivers making dangerous maneuvers around plows. So far 13 plows have been hit this season. Most of those incidents were related to drivers going too fast for conditions and passing plows on the right.


ITD crews fixing potholes in East Idaho

EAST IDAHO – The Idaho Transportation Department is working to address potholes created by rapidly changing temperatures this winter. Recent snows followed by warm temperatures allows water to enter through cracks in asphalt. When that water freezes at night it can result in potholes forming on the surface of Idaho’s highways and freeways.

While winter maintenance typically focuses on keeping roads clear of snow, crews are also repairing potholes on I-15, within the city of Idaho Falls, as well as in other areas of the region.

D5 operations engineer Greydon Wright says, “The biggest area that we have been fighting them are on I-15 between Exit 93 (Blackfoot) and the Blackfoot Rest Areas.”

Similarly, D6 operations engineer Bryan Young reports they have been hard at work as well, “This week we have received numerous comments about the potholes in Idaho Falls. The Idaho Falls Maintenance Shed has successfully repaired the major potholes and will continue to repair the roadways as more potholes appear.” However, Young points out that repairs are weather dependent. So, drivers must still pay attention to avoid hitting a rough piece of pavement.

Patching during the winter consists of using a “cold patch” that is intended to be a temporary solution. Crews will return in the summer to perform more permanent repairs as needed. In addition, ITD has several projects scheduled this year to address older pavement throughout the region.

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 or the Idaho 511 App for road conditions before traveling. For more winter driving tips, visit

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

Drivers need to be careful in upcoming storm

Weather map showing weather warnings throughout East IdahoRIGBY – With a severe winter storm predicted by the National Weather Service (, the Idaho Transportation Department in East Idaho reminds drivers to take precautions in case roads close or motorists become stranded. Extreme cold temperatures, snow, and wind can make for a dangerous combination.

“We do everything we can to keep roads open,” said Bryan Young, D6 Operations Engineer. “However, we also have to consider the safety of the traveling public and our crews.”

ITD asks the public to think ahead and determine whether a trip can be delayed or avoided during winter storms. Check or the 511 app to learn if roads are closed and to view conditions. If you are driving, be careful to leave extra distance between vehicles, never pass a snowplow on the right, and pay close attention to changing conditions.

Other safety tips include:Image of 511 web site showing cameras and road conditions

  • Keep survival supplies in your vehicle: blankets, flashlight, water, and food.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank before leaving.
  • Be sure your car is well-maintained with fluids at proper levels, tires properly inflated, wipers, brakes, and battery are all in good condition.
  • Dress appropriately for cold weather: heavy coat, boots, gloves, and have extra socks.
  • Prepare to self-rescue if your vehicle is stuck by having: a shovel, kitty litter, tire chains.
  • Inform others of when you are leaving, what route you are taking, and what time you expect to arrive.
  • Ensure your cell phone is charged before leaving.
  • If your vehicle becomes stuck, check to be sure the tail pipe is clear so exhaust fumes do not build up in the cabin.
  • Crack a window to avoid carbon monoxide build-up and only run your vehicle for 10 minutes per hour to keep the cabin warm.

ITD is taking another look at potential alternatives for US-20; invites public to give feedback

RIGBY – The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites the public to participate in in-person or online meetings in early December for the US-20 corridor between Ashton and SH-87 junction. Meetings are scheduled for the following evenings:

Monday, Dec. 5
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Ashton Community
Center and Library
925 Main Street Ashton, ID 83420

Tuesday, Dec. 6
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Island Park EMS Building
4378 County Circle
Island Park, ID 83429

For those who can’t attend in person, an online meeting will be available between Dec. 6-23 at

ITD is taking a second look at alternating passing lanes and other potential roadway improvements as part of the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study initiated in late 2021.

The format of the meetings will be an open house and will include computer stations featuring project mapping. Please plan to attend one of two public meetings anytime from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Both in-person as well as the online meeting will all share the same information, and no formal presentation will be given.

Comments on the project are always welcome but can be best utilized if received by Dec. 23, 2022.

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 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.

Leading Idaho funds runway improvements to St. Anthony Community Airport

Grant funds in the amount of $1.7M from Gov. Little’s Leading Idaho initiative helped repair and replace sections of badly damaged runway at the small community airport in St. Anthony in October. The funds were used in conjunction with Idaho Airport Aid Program funding to complete the runway reconstruction and eliminate a significant safety hazard.

The consultant who managed the project, T-O Engineers, worked with the City of St. Anthony to help them reconstruct their only paved runway and build a new partial parallel taxiway for additional hangar development. The existing runway pavement was rated in “poor” condition in 2021 and was projected to drop to “very poor” within the next five years. The new partial parallel was constructed to provide access to the runway for existing and future hangars as well as improve safety at the airport.

Aviation Program Manager for T-O Engineers, Jared Norton, reported that the design included utilizing a CRABS (Concrete Recycled Asphalt Base Stabilization) process on existing runway pavement that was still in good condition and could be salvaged, which reduced construction costs and time, while providing a high-strength pavement section.

The project was not without its challenges, Norton said.

“During construction, we encountered unanticipated subsurface conditions that impacted the CRABS process. T-O Engineers worked with the city and contractor Depatco to quickly modify the design and allow the project to continue moving forward on schedule. In the end, the city was able to complete the full project on time and under budget. “

The new runway will better serve the agricultural spraying needs and general aviation operations at the small East Idaho airport.

“The Division of Aeronautics is honored to have the ability to collaborate with airport sponsors to ensure the safety and economic viability of the statewide aviation system,” said Aero’s Airport Planning Manager Jennifer Schildgen (pictured  left). “It is wonderful to see project completion and the amazing work being done through partnerships that helps the communities. It is one of the reasons I look forward to work every day.”

Rock scaling to begin Wednesday on SH-75 south of Challis

Road Work Ahead sign
Geotechnical crew scaling the rockface
Geotechnical crew scaling a rockface

RIGBY – Beginning Wednesday the Idaho Transportation Department will be scaling rock on SH-75 between Challis and Clayton. Rock scaling is the safe removal of loose rock from the face of a mountain or hill to ensure it does not fall on the roadway.

Contractor Rock Supremacy will be working at four different sites over the next two weeks. Work will occur Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The four sites are:

  • MP 231.45 to 231.52 Site one: ~1-days
  • MP 231.66 to 231.75 Site two: ~3-days
  • MP 235.05 to 235.24 Site three: ~3-days
  • MP 236.67 to 236.76 Site four: ~4-days

During operations motorists should expect up to 20-minute delays. Drivers are encouraged to check road conditions on


Public invited to attend public scoping meeting for I-15/US-20 Connector Study on October 18, 2022 in Idaho Falls

RIGBY -The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will host a public scoping meeting for the I-15/US-20 Connector project on October 18, 2022.

ITD is initiating an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for the I-15/US-20 Connector project. The EIS will analyze three alternatives (E3, H2 and the no-build) from the Planning and Environmental Linkages (PEL) study.

This meeting is an opportunity for the public to review the outcomes of the PEL study and provide comments as the project moves into the next phase. Public input will be an important part of choosing the final project that best fits the community’s needs.

The meeting will be held from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Snake River Event Center in Idaho Falls. Presentations are scheduled for every half hour beginning at 4 p.m., followed by a guided tour and an open house. ITD is asking participants to please consider a later presentation slot to avoid crowds at the start of the meeting.

For those unable to attend in person, an online meeting will be available at from October 11 through October 25, 2022. Please submit comments by October 26, 2022.

For questions or to learn more, please call 208.813.0027 or visit