Bridge rehabilitation to begin construction today on the ID-31 Pine Creek bridge

SWAN VALLEY – To increase the longevity of the bridge, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will begin construction on the ID-31 Pine Creek bridge starting today.

“This bridge rehabilitation will entail replacing the bridge expansion joints, re-surfacing of the bridge deck, repairing the storm water drains, improving the erosion control on the bridge embankment, replacing the guardrail at the approaches, improving the bridge approaches and finishing with new pavement,” said ITD Project Manager Eli Robinson, “This project will greatly improve and extend the lifespan of the bridge.”

The Pine Creek bridge construction will begin today and is expected to be completed by late fall.

Drivers can expect traffic delays for the duration of the project. Reduced speed limits will be effect and traffic will be reduced to one-lane with traffic signals in place.

Please remember to pay attention, obey traffic laws and plan your commute accordingly. ITD would like to remind drivers that traffic fines are doubled in work zones. Please check 511.Idaho.gov for current road conditions.

As winter melts away, spring brings new driving precautions

US-12 slide near Kamiah from April 2019

ITD crews, including our most dedicated snow plow operators, look forward to the onset of spring. But, the new season brings new challenges. Spring is a time of transition, and fluctuating temperatures can make it one of the busiest seasons for our employees. As winter melts away, please be mindful of the below scenarios and take precautions.

Problems can pop up quickly — whether it’s a series of deep, tire-damaging potholes in the fast lane or massive mudslides that block key routes in just minutes. Responding to these situations can be challenging as crews switch from long hours of nighttime snow plowing to daytime repairs.

Some repairs — like patching potholes — have to be done with multiple treatments since they’re not as effective in cold weather. Other repairs may need to wait until trucks currently outfitted with plows can be converted to haul other materials.

This transition from winter to spring applies to drivers, too. You still need to be prepared for winter conditions, especially when traveling over mountain passes. Spring is an excellent time to change out wiper blades and check tires to prep your car for wet roads. Shadowed corners can be icy on cold mornings, and storms can mix rain and snow as you gain elevation. In periods of heavy rain, vigilantly watching for rocks or objects in the road can prevent a dangerous collision.

When the weather warms up, so does the desire to get outside. It’s important to watch the road not just for hazards such as fallen rocks and adverse weather conditions but to also take extra precautions and be on the lookout for motorcyclists, bicyclists, children at play and even wildlife.

As ITD crews switch to springtime tasks, make the switch too by planning for changing road conditions. Be sure to check 511.idaho.gov for alerts before you hit the road to stay safe while you travel.

Intersection improvements to N 4100 E on ID-48 to begin Monday with irrigation pipe work

RIGBY – Construction will start on Monday, March 23 and continue through March 27 to make improvements to the intersection of ID-48 & N 4100 E. Crews will be replacing, moving and improving the irrigation pipe at this intersection.

The contractor is building the project at this time to make the appropriate improvements while there is no irrigation water running in the ditch.

This is the first of four project phases. The next phase is expected to begin this June, as ITD adds turn lanes at the above intersection. These changes are to improve the safety to the intersection and reduce traffic delays.

Expect temporary traffic delays during construction. The eastbound and westbound lanes on ID-48 will have traffic control set up to one-way traffic from 7 a.m.to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Expect traffic delays of up to 15 minutes until the project is completed.

Traffic will also be detoured to N 4200 E and N 4000 E to access N 4100 E from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Traffic will be opened to two lanes on ID-48 overnight on weeknights, starting at 7 p.m.

Please remember to pay attention, obey traffic laws and plan your commute accordingly. ITD would like to remind drivers that traffic fines are doubled in work zones. Please check 511.Idaho.gov for current road conditions.

Tree removal at the Orofino Airport underway, with impacts to US-12 next week

A car passes the Orofino Airport on US-12

Trees along US-12 near the Orofino Airport will be removed next week to improve safety for flyers and drivers.

In recent years, the trees have grown taller and thicker, prompting the Federal Aviation Administration to ask the City of Orofino to remove those that are encroaching on the runway. Some trees are on property owned by the Idaho Transportation Department, which supports their removal to enhance safety by decreasing shade in winter months and improve drivers’ line of sight.

Starting Monday, March 23, crews will start removing trees between US-12 and the airport. They are expected to be on site from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for up to five days. A helicopter will transport the logs to another part of the grounds for processing.

When crews are on scene, the westbound slow lane will be closed. All westbound traffic will be stopped for up to 15 minutes when larger trees with the capacity to reach the road are felled. All lanes will be open when there is no active work.

Work is already underway to remove trees on the north side of the airport. Any questions may be directed to the City of Orofino at (208) 476-4725.

Temporary speed limit reductions begin Monday in East Idaho on several local highways to preserve roads, vehicles

EAST IDAHO – Recent winter storms and fluctuating temperatures have caused potholes to develop along roadways in Eastern Idaho. To ensure the safety to the traveling public, ITD will be temporarily reducing speed limits on several local highways in East Idaho beginning Monday, March 9 and continuing through May to protect vehicles and preserve roads from further damage.

Crews will lower the speed limit to 55 mph on the following highways:

  • US-20 from Chester to Ashton
  • ID-32 from Ashton to Tetonia
  • ID-33 from US-20/26 junction to I-15
  • ID-33 from Sugar City to Victor
  • ID-22 from Dubois to ID-33 junction
  • ID-47 from Ashton to milepost 7

ITD will also be temporarily lowering the speed limit to 30 mph for all commercial vehicles 10,000 GVWR or greater in the above areas. As spring breakup approaches, ITD crews will continue to repair potholes and monitor road conditions.

In addition, ITD has a project planned in the Idaho Transportation Investment Program that will see ID-33 repaved within the next few years.

Individuals traveling in the area are encouraged to pay attention, slow down and drive with caution. Please visit the improved 511.idaho.gov for updated road information.

Traffic to shift on US-30 in Cassia County starting next week

As early as March 10, traffic will shift on US-30 between Parke Avenue and 400 West Road in Burley. This is part of a highway widening and utility improvement project that has been underway since February of this year and is expected to finish this fall. The work will enhance the safety of drivers and enhance mobility.

“With this project, we will see the roadway transition from a two lane highway to a four lane highway for an approximate four mile stretch,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Kenny Lively.

Flaggers and pilot cars will be present during working hours – 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Drivers can expect reduced speeds and minor delays near the work zone and are encouraged to find an alternate route.

“In addition to the two eastbound and westbound lanes, we will also be building a center turn lane,” said Lively. “This will provide easier access to businesses in the area and improve safety for motorists.”

Western Construction Inc. is the prime contractor for this project.

First Tracks – Teens and Winter Driving

Teen Driving Distracted

It’s a weekend tradition for many Idaho families – heading up to snowy mountains to ski or board together. Parents often put quite a bit of time, lessons and teaching moments into making sure their kids have fun and learn safety on the hill.

In the same way, learning to drive in winter weather can be a challenge, and teens have a few extra obstacles to overcome as brand new drivers. Just like ski lessons, teens need a little help to be prepared and safe on winter roads.

Emily Kormylo, Idaho’s Driver Education Coordinator, says winter is a popular time for parents to enroll their teen in drivers ed. Parents hope the winter conditions will help their teens learn driving skills in challenging situations that can help them year-round. And for a good reason —  teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, mainly because of their lack of experience. They speed, they make mistakes, and they get distracted easily – especially if their friends are in the car. (as reported by NHTSA)

How can you – as a parent – help?

Practice

In addition to enrolling your teen in drivers ed, help your teen practice their winter driving skills. Go to a parking lot to practice on ice, in low-visibility and snowy conditions. Talk about road conditions they may encounter even in early spring – like icy corners on rural highways or obscured lane lines when snow piles up. Make sure your car is winter-ready and check road conditions at 511.idaho.gov before any road trip.

Leave early and slow down

For most teens, mornings are not their favorite time of day. But rushing around and running late can make driving on slick roads even more stressful.

Speed is a significant factor in winter crashes. One out of every five crashes in Idaho involves a youthful driver. Younger drivers, especially teens, also showed more risk of contributing factors in crashes like speeding, inattention and tailgating.

While the message is simple, slowing down and buckling up are simple ways teens can stay safe on the roads.

Minimize Distractions

We know teens are more susceptible to distractions behind the wheel, especially if friends are in the car. Distractions could include:

  • Texting or talking on the phone
  • Eating
  • Loud music or conversations with friends

Encourage your teen to be an engaged driver, in the moment, focused on the road.

Be the Driver You Want Them to Be

Parents, sometimes what you say isn’t nearly as loud as what you do. Especially when it comes to what you do in the car. Be an engaged driver. Slow down in inclement weather. Wear your seat belt and put down the phone. Your kids and teens are watching you for good driving habits.

Visit Shift-idaho.org/idahoready for winter driving tips, including info on winter emergency kits and pointers for new-to-snow drivers.

ITD to clear trees along Idaho Highway 162 in the coming weeks to make it safer

Trees near ID-162 at milepost 20

Trees along Idaho Highway 162 near milepost 20 will be removed in the coming weeks to improve safety for drivers, with work scheduled to start today.

Maintenance crews will gradually remove trees that appear to be dead or dying within this road section. The highway will be reduced to one lane and closed completely for approximately 15 minutes each time a tree is dropped.

Crews are generally expected to work between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The brushing project could take up to two weeks to complete between snow storms, so drivers are advised to pay attention to signs in the area and to check 511.idaho.gov for specific timing of impacts.

This particular section lost several trees during a storm in early February that left one ITD operator injured after a tree fell onto his plow truck as he stood next to it. That employee, while initially released from the hospital after the incident, is still recovering at home.

“Recent events remind us of the dangers of dead trees close to the road,” Foreman Lee Linabary said. “This is one of several sections of highway that has been on the list for brushing activities ever since the 2015 fire near Kamiah.”

An estimated thirty trees will be removed in the initial area, but drivers should expect more trees with the potential to fall onto highways during storms to be cleared along several more miles of ID-162 near Kamiah and ID-62 near Craigmont this summer.

ITD partners with Leighton Vander Esch on seat belt safety

Buckle Up, Idaho campaign kick off with Leighton Vander Esch

 
BOISE—The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is partnering with Idaho native and Dallas Cowboys’ linebacker Leighton Vander Esch to remind Idahoans to buckle up.

Brought to life in a new educational campaign, “Rules to LVE By,” today’s announcement kicks off a partnership between ITD and Vander Esch focusing on the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times while in a vehicle.

“We are thrilled to partner with Leighton on this project,” said ITD Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “He believes in hard work and doing things the right way, these are his rules to live by. Wearing a seat belt is one of those rules and we hope other Idahoans follow that example.”

Statistics show that eighty-five percent of people in Idaho buckle up. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not properly restrained. The majority of those people were killed on rural roads.

“Having Leighton onboard can really make a difference in those rural communities,” Tomlinson said. “That’s where he grew up and he really understands the values of a small town but he also has a broad appeal that will resonate with all Idahoans.”

“I’m very proud to be from Idaho and my wife and I love coming home every chance we get,” Vander Esch said. “Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about the importance of seatbelt safety in my work with ITD, I’m excited to partner with them to help educate Idahoans about the importance of buckling up.”

The statewide program “Rules to LVE By” will include a media campaign featuring Vander Esch and educational events being planned at schools throughout the state. The first commercials featuring Vander Esch and his personal rules, including a message to “always buckle up,” were released today, and can be seen at shift-idaho.org/buckleupidaho.

“I’m grateful that I can help save lives and give back to the place that will always be my home,” Vander Esch said.