Idaho DMV issues extension on expiring registrations and driver’s licenses

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Motor Vehicles is providing an extension on expiring vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses. In an effort to reduce wait times at county DMV offices, non-commercial vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses that expire between September and December 2020, now have until January 31, 2021 to renew.

In mid-October ITD implemented the fourth and largest phase of the state’s DMV modernization project, moving the vehicle registration and titling system from a 1980s mainframe to an updated computer program. Eight million records were integrated into a “one person, one record” system, linking each Idahoan’s registration and title information with their license.

The new system has temporarily slowed vehicle registration and title processing, and ITD is working diligently to speed up transaction times. COVID-19 social distancing measures with limited hours and appointment times also contribute to a backlog in service. The extensions will allow customers more time to safely complete their business. ITD is doing everything possible to reduce wait times, especially as temperatures drop this fall and winter.

“People with expiring registrations and licenses don’t need to rush to the DMV. These extensions should give them some relief, help reduce crowd sizes, and also open up appointment windows where available at county offices,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “We also encourage Idahoans to renew their registration online, by mail, or drop boxes at county offices.”

DMV online services, including driver’s license and registration renewal, are available 24/7 at dmv.idaho.gov. Please note, county DMV office hours are determined by county sheriffs and assessors, and vary statewide. Hours and contact information can be found at dmv.idaho.gov.

Reminder: Drive Insured! Insure your vehicle or lose your registration

Drive Insured! Be safe, be smart! Insure your vehicle or lose your registration.

A reminder to Idaho vehicle owners, drive insured or lose your registration.

Under Idaho law, vehicle owners without insurance coverage for two consecutive months risk having their registration suspended by the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles.

The Drive Insured law (Idaho Code 49-1234) was passed during the 2019 Idaho legislative session, and went into effect in January 2020. As part of the DMV’s efforts to help Idahoans through the unprecedented COVID-19 emergency, implementation was initially delayed.

The DMV receives data from licensed Idaho insurance companies identifying vehicles with coverage. Owners without coverage for two consecutive months will receive a warning letter, then have 30 days to provide proof of insurance or obtain an exemption before their registration is suspended.

To reinstate a suspended registration, owners will need to provide proof of insurance and pay a fee of $75.

Impacted drivers should expect warning letters in the mail this October, though at any time, the DMV encourages Idahoans to use the Drive Insured self-reporting tool at driveinsured.itd.idaho.gov. This tool allows drivers to verify the DMV has a record of their insurance, report a change in their insurance situation, or file an exemption. While insurance companies are required by law to provide this data, some fail to do so and it may result in a vehicle incorrectly identified as not having insurance. Using the self-reporting tool is a simple step that can give drivers peace of mind if they are concerned the DMV is not up to date on their current situation.

Please note, county DMV offices are not involved with Drive Insured, and affected vehicle owners cannot report their insurance in-person there. Please use the Idaho DMV’s online self-reporting tool, or call 208.334.8075.

Some vehicles are exempt from this statute. The law applies only to non-commercial vehicles, and excludes trailers and off-highway vehicles. For a full list of frequently asked questions, visit dmv.idaho.gov and click the Drive Insured heading.

Transport of oversized windmill loads through North Idaho to begin Thursday night

Picture of a large windmill blade at the Lewiston Port

Update as of 10/16: the first loads are now expected to leave Saturday night.

Approximately 300 oversized loads will travel from the Port of Lewiston to Alberta, Canada over the next two months, with the first load scheduled to leave Thursday night (Oct. 15) at 7 p.m. NexGen Transportation is in the process of delivering the blades and tower sections for 43 windmills, with the largest loads measuring up to 270 feet long and weighing 240,000 pounds.

The loads will depart from the Port of Lewiston every night, except Friday and Saturday nights, to travel north on US-95 to Coeur d’Alene before heading east on I-90 into Montana. Weather conditions may impact the schedule.

Pilot cars will escort the loads on the two-day journey, with flaggers in place to close the following intersections: Idaho Highway 128 and US-12/US-95 (Lewiston), US-95 and Lincoln Avenue/Walnut Way (Coeur d’Alene) and the I-90 and US-95 interchange (Coeur d’Alene).

Drivers can expect delays as the loads move through these intersections. Seven loads are expected each night.

Emergency repairs to Clearwater Memorial Bridge to start tonight

US-12 crosses the Clearwater River.

Update as of 10/16: Work will now take place over the weekend and is anticipated to be complete Sunday night.

Repairs to the Clearwater Memorial Bridge are scheduled to start tonight and run until the end of next week. During this time, joints on the westbound lanes that allow the bridge to expand and contract with the weather will be replaced.

Both directions of traffic will be reduced to one lane each week night from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. Drivers will be directed to the eastbound side of the bridge to give crews room to work.

Work is scheduled at night to minimize impacts to commuters. However, the nighttime transport of oversized loads between Lewiston and Canada may cause short delays as they leave the port and head north on US-95 for the next two months.

project in 2023 will rehabilitate the 1951 structure, but the joints will not be able to support traffic until then without significant maintenance costs and must be addressed now.

New traffic pattern in place next week at Salt Lake Interchange project

Image of construction on the Salt Lake Interchange project

As early as Thursday (Oct. 15), traffic will shift on Interstate 84/86 at the Salt Lake Interchange project. Motorists traveling toward Pocatello from Burley on I-84 will be detoured toward Salt Lake. They will take Exit 228 at Yale Road and then enter I-84 westbound and continue on to I-86 toward Pocatello.

“This detour will allow us to complete demolition of the aged eastbound bridge structure.” ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock said. “This will be the final demolition phase for this project.”

In addition to the Yale Road detour, westbound traffic progressing from I-86 to I-84 will now continue through the work zone in their designated lane of travel.

“These are new traffic patterns which replace others previously in place throughout this project,” stated Hitchcock. “It’s important that drivers pay close attention to signage and message boards that will be in place to safely direct them through the area.”

Traffic will remain reduced to a single lane in each direction. Drivers should continue to anticipate reduced speeds through the work zone and watch for crews and heavy equipment.

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

Blasting and road closures begin on ID-55 Smiths Ferry project

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) starts the blasting portion of the Idaho Highway 55 Smiths Ferry project Monday, September 21.

Drivers can anticipate the fall road closure schedule of Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to begin Monday. If motorists need to travel during this time frame, they are encouraged to plan around this schedule or use US-95. These closures will continue through mid-November when construction will pause for the winter months.

Crews will work during the closures to safely blast and remove rock from the canyon to widen the roadway between Smiths Ferry and the Rainbow Bridge. Large equipment, including steel containers and temporary barrier to prevent falling rock from entering the travel lane, and protect the crews working next to traffic in the narrow work zone, will fill one lane. As a result, drivers can expect one-way, alternating traffic when blasts are not being conducted. Motorists can find additional details on ITD’s project website.

“For the safety of our crews and travelers, please plan for the road to be closed every Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until this winter when construction will pause,” Vince Trimboli, ITD Communications Manager said. “We appreciate the public’s patience during the project as we make these much needed safety improvements.”

As a reminder, seasonal closures and traffic patterns will be as follows:

  • Fall (September – November): One-way alternating traffic; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Winter (December – Mid-March): No construction expected; all lanes open
  • Spring (Mid-March – Mid-May): One-way alternating traffic; daytime and nighttime work, seven days a week; full road closures Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Summer (Mid-May – August): One-way alternating traffic; daytime and nighttime work, Monday – Friday

The project is expected to be completed by late fall 2022. Motorists are encouraged to sign up for text and email alerts to get the most up-to-date information on the project.

In the event of an emergency, ITD and emergency service providers have a system in place to allow vehicles through the work zone so they can transport patients or respond to other emergencies in a safe, timely manner.