ITD considering partnership to reinitiate maintenance of backcountry airstrip in Lemhi County

Hoodoo Meadows Airstrip corridor and borrow trench - Photo taken near entrance facing North.

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Division of Aeronautics (ITD) is seeking public comments as it considers restoring and managing a backcountry airstrip in the Salmon-Challis National Forest.

The Hoodoo Meadows airstrip (as shown in image above) is the highest in the state at an elevation of 8,200 feet, and provides access to the Frank Church – Wilderness of No Return. The airstrip is located just south of Yellowjacket Lake and near the popular Bighorn Crags area. It has not been used since the 1980s.

The site was managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) after its construction in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and traditionally used to gain recreational access for alpine lake fishing, wildlife viewing, and big game hunting. Although there were no reported accidents, in the early 1980s the airstrip was rated marginal for safety, and by 1989 trees had encroached the site and made it unusable.

In 2016, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) initiated the effort to restore the Hoodoo Meadows airstrip, due to repeated public inquiries about recreational accessibility. Together, USFS, IDFG, and ITD, with support from the Idaho Aviation Association and the Recreation Aviation Foundation, are working on an agreement that would open the site for air travel and provide for future maintenance.

“This effort has been underway for several years. Our role would be making the airstrip safe for pilots to land again, by clearing vegetation and installing safety features like runway markers,” Aeronautics Administrator Jeff Marker said. “It would take about a month of initial cleanup work on our part, but would provide more access for those who wish to explore some of the most remote places in Idaho.”

Visit itd.idaho.gov/aero to review the proposed partnership, then please provide ITD your feedback on the plan. Public comments will be accepted March 15 to March 29 through the following options:

  • Email jillian.garrigues@itd.idaho.gov
  • Record verbal testimony by calling (855) 785-2499
  • Send your written comments by mail to
    ATTN: Jillian Garrigues
    Idaho Transportation Department
    PO Box 7129
    Boise, ID 83707

The USFS sought comments in 2018 on reopening the Hoodoo Meadows airstrip. Now, the public can voice their support or concerns regarding ITD’s involvement in the partnership.

ITD to host a public hearing on the proposed action to abandon the Idaho Highway 75 Spur to Blaine County

Image of ID-75 in Blaine County

Members of the public are invited to provide comment regarding a proposed action for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to abandon the Idaho Highway 75 Spur to Blaine County.

The ID-75 Spur, also known as Sun Valley Road, connects ID-75 in Ketchum to Trail Creek Road in Sun Valley from milepost 0.0 to 3.6.

During the month of January, ITD will host two events for the public to learn more about the action and comment on the proposal. Representatives from ITD, Blaine County, Ketchum and Sun Valley will be in attendance.

    • On Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. ITD will host an hour-long webinar. The public may join the webinar by visiting the project website and clicking on the Zoom link under Option 1.

There will be a brief presentation followed by a Q&A session via the chat feature. A recording of the webinar will also be posted to the project website afterward. No official comments will be accepted during this event.

    • On Tuesday, Jan. 26 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. ITD will provide an opportunity for individuals to meet one-on-one and discuss this proposed action in-person at the Sun Valley City Council Chambers at 81 Elkhorn Road.

In-person meetings will be available on a limited basis and ITD requests that those who attend follow recommended guidelines relating to COVID-19. Interested members of the public should call (208) 886-7806 or email jessica.williams@itd.idaho.gov to schedule a 20-minute appointment during the timeframe listed above. Individuals who schedule an in-person meeting will be able to provide written or recorded testimony if desired.

Comments will be accepted through Friday, Jan. 29 and may also be submitted in the following ways:

• recorded by calling (855) 785-2499
• via the project website: itdprojects.org/projects/id-75-spur
• emailed to jessica.williams@itd.idaho.gov
• mailed to:
Idaho Transportation Department
Attn: Jessica Williams
216 South Date Street
Shoshone, ID 83352

ITD is required to conduct a public hearing and evaluation on this proposed adjustment of the State Highway System before the Board makes a final decision and an agreement with Blaine County is signed.

For more information on this public hearing or the proposed action for ITD to abandon the ID-75 Spur, please visit the project website or call (208) 886-7806.

Disadvantage Business Enterprise Program Seeks Public Input on Draft Federal Transit Administration DBE Methodology

virtual meeting

The Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program works to provide a level playing field for women-owned and minority-owned under-represented businesses on federally funded transportation design and construction projects.  

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is currently working on the Federal Transit Administration DBE Methodology review and approval process, and is seeking public comment on the draft proposal.  

The comment period will begin Monday, Dec. 7, 2020 and ends on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021.   

ITD will be holding a virtual meeting during the comment period on Thursday, Dec. 10, 4:00 – 5:30 pm (MST). 

“The purpose of the virtual meeting is to provide the public information on how we determined the proposed DBE methodology and answer any questions or concerns the public may have regarding the draft proposal,” said DBE Program Coordinator Ester Ceja. 

If you have any questions, concerns, or program comments contact Ester at 208.334.8567 or Ester.Ceja@itd.idaho.gov  

DBE Public Comment Document

WebEx Meeting Instructions

Comment period open for proposed changes to commercial trucking limits on some Latah County highways

Centerline photo of ID-9 south of Harvard

The Idaho Transportation Department is hosting a virtual public hearing to collect comments on a proposal to reclassify several highways in Latah County as legal for commercial loads weighing up to 129,000 pounds.

In the application submitted to ITD, Bennett Lumber Products requested reclassification of the following routes due to the discontinuation of service on the Washington, Idaho & Montana Railway:

  • Idaho Highway 6 from the US-95 junction to Harvard
  • Idaho Highway 9 from Harvard to Deary
  • Idaho Highway 8 from Deary to the US-95 junction

These highways are currently rated for commercial loads weighing up to 105,500 pounds. Analysis by ITD subject matter experts found that allowing heavier loads on the specified routes could be accommodated without affecting safety or pavement conditions.

“There are many misconceptions about this type of trucking, so we encourage everyone to spend time on the website,” said Jan Vassar, the Idaho Transportation Board Member representing North Central Idaho. “Comments will help the board make a decision.”

The application, analysis by ITD and FAQs about 129,000-pound loads are available at itd.idaho.gov/freight. Comments are being sought until December 21 and can be submitted in the following ways:

Commenters can also call ITD Freight Program Manager Scott Luekenga at (208) 334-8057 with questions.

The department is required to conduct an analysis and public hearing on all requests to operate 129,000-pound loads on the state highway system before the Idaho Transportation Board makes a final decision. The board could make a decision as early as January after reviewing comments.

ID-55 project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley to start September 8

ID-55 at Smiths Ferry

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) starts road work on the Idaho Highway 55 safety-enhancement project between Smiths Ferry and Round Valley on September 8.

The public is invited to attend a virtual public meeting on Wednesday, September 2, from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m. where ITD representatives will give an overview of the project and take questions. The link to attend will be posted on the project website, itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry, 15 minutes prior to the meeting.

Work will largely be done in fall, spring and summer months, with construction stopping during the winter. This fall, travelers can expect full closures on the roadway Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to allow for blasting and rock removal.

Motorists can find additional details on road closures and traffic patterns on the project website, and can sign up for email and text updates.

“Our goal with this project is to enhance the safety of this mile-long section of the roadway,” Project Manager Alex Deduck said. “Construction crews will remove about 146,000 tons of rock from the hillside, which we want to do very carefully to not create rockslides or impact the river.”

Crews will work on widening shoulders and straightening the curves of the road. This project will also provide a smoother, safer ride for motorists by adding guardrail.

Motorists should anticipate reduced speeds and lanes reduced to one-way alternating traffic during construction. Seasonal closures and traffic patterns will be as follows:

  • Fall (September – November): One-way alternating traffic controlled by a temporary signal; 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 controlled by a temporary signal; 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 controlled by flaggers; daytime and nighttime work, Monday – Friday

The project is expected to be completed by late fall 2022. ITD and the Idaho State Police advise motorists to slow down and pay attention when driving in work zones, where increased speeding fines and other penalties apply. Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and dial 5-­1-­1 or visit 511.idaho.gov for information on the state highway or interstate system.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program seeks input on plan, sets public-meeting schedule

Public comment to help guide ITD’s Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) program with its multi-year methodology is being sought through August 24. The DBE program works to provide a level playing field for minority-owned or under-represented businesses in the design and construction of federally funded transportation projects.
Due to Covid-19, two virtual meetings will be held online. The virtual meeting log in and call-in instructions can be found below. The DBE document for public review can also be found below.
The two online public meetings are scheduled for:
July 29 from 4-5:30 p.m. (MST)/3-4:30 p.m. (PST) DONE
Aug. 6 from 5-6:30 p.m. (MST)/4-5:30 p.m. (PST)
If you have any questions, concerns, or program comments, please contact Ester Ceja at (208) 334-8567 or Ester.Ceja@itd.idaho.gov

Comment today on shoulder widening for US-12 east of Kooskia

A bicyclist on US-12 east of Kooskia

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites community input on shoulder widening plans for US-12 east of Kooskia via an online meeting at itdprojects.org/us12rangerstationtoholly from today (June 4) to June 25.

“We aim to enhance safety for motorists and bicyclists alike with the improvements we are proposing,” ITD Resident Engineer Joe Schacher said. “The design is simple, but one we have used previously and hope to extend throughout the corridor.”

The online meeting will focus on US-12 between the Lochsa Ranger Station at milepost 121 and Holly Creek at milepost 131. Major changes include widening shoulders to be two feet wide on either side and adding centerline rumble strips in no-passing zones.

“This project won’t go to construction until 2023,” Schacher said, “but it is part of our ongoing mission to improve safety from Syringa to Warm Springs.”

Comments may be submitted via the website, calling (208) 799-4233, emailing joe.schacher@itd.idaho.gov or sending mail to P.O. Box 837 in Lewiston at the attention of Joe Schacher.

Those who do not have the ability to engage online should use the contact information above, and a member of the project team will provide other resources to participate.

Two-week online discussion opens June 4 for Idaho 75 project in Ketchum

Image of ID-75 in relation to the Elkhorn Road to River Street project

The Idaho Transportation Department invites community members to give input on improvements to Idaho 75 in Ketchum via an online discussion at itdprojects.org/idaho-75-elkhorn-road. The online discussion will be open from June 4 to June 18.

“During this time of social-distancing restrictions, we recognize that community involvement is still essential to the success of this project,” said ITD Project Manager Nathan Jerke. “We encourage all community members to join us for the online discussion.”

The online discussion will include a short presentation introducing the project and its background. There will also be an opportunity for individuals to provide input and see comments from other community members.

Growth and development in recent years have resulted in increased congestion on Idaho 75. This project will result in design plans for widening the highway between Elkhorn Road and River Street, rebuilding the Trail Creek Bridge and improving drainage and other infrastructure.

Comments may be submitted via the website, calling (208) 886-7809, emailing SH75ElkhornRoadToRiverSt@itd.idaho.gov or sending mail to the Idaho Transportation Department, 216 S Date St., Shoshone, ID 83352 at the attention of Nathan Jerke.

Those who do not have the ability to engage online should use the contact information above, and a member of the project team will provide other resources to participate.

Transportation department seeks public comment in July on planned projects

The Idaho Transportation Department is seeking public comment from July 1 – July 30 on the FY 2019-25 draft of the Idaho Transportation Investment Program (ITIP), and all transportation stakeholders are encouraged to participate.

The ITIP is a seven-year “roadmap” for planning and developing transportation projects, including:

–  Highways and bridges
–  Bicycle and pedestrian facilities
–  Highway safety
–  Railroad crossing safety
–  Airports
–  Public transportation
–  Transportation planning
–  Freight

The transportation department is offering an online, interactive map that allows users to choose specific project categories, and learn about work that is planned for the area of Idaho they’re interested in. It’s called the Idaho Transportation Project Map.

View the draft ITIP and interactive map. 

The draft ITIP document lists projects by highway route and location, identifies projected years for right-of-way acquisition, preliminary engineering, construction and estimated project costs. It also lists local construction projects that are federally funded.

The projects start in 2019, and go through 2025.

Public comments will help the department determine if proposed projects meet the department’s three main objectives of improving safety, mobility and economic opportunity.

Production of the ITIP is a year-round process that relies on input from elected officials, citizens, tribal governments, other state and federal agencies, Idaho’s metropolitan planning organizations, the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, and other interested organizations.

Comments can be e-mailed to adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov or mailed to ITIP – Comments, Attn: Adam Rush, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID  83707-1129. Paper or CD copies of the ITIP will be provided upon request by contacting Rush at (208) 334-8119 or by e-mail at adam.rush@itd.idaho.gov.

A request for a paper copy or CD also can be mailed to: Idaho Transportation Department, Adam Rush, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, ID  83707-1129.

A printed copy can be reviewed at any of ITD’s district offices in Coeur d’Alene, Lewiston, Boise, Shoshone, Pocatello and Rigby.

All comments on the draft will be reviewed after July 30. After approval by the Idaho Transportation Board, the ITIP is submitted to the Federal Highway Administration, the Federal Transit Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Give ITD feedback on Mountain Home plans

Mt Home Study

The Idaho Transportation Department is seeking public comment on several long-range plans in Mountain Home.

The Department and the City of Mountain Home have worked together to create concepts for the interchanges at Exits 90 (Old US-30) and 95 (American Legion) as well as access control along American Legion Blvd (Idaho Highway 51 and US-20). You can see project details and leave a comment by visiting the project website.

The redesign on Exit 90 is designed to improve the safety and efficiency of the interchange. It also accommodates a future connection to NW Mashburn Road.

At Exit 95, ITD is asking for public comment on three alternative designs. Each design has its own advantages and trade-offs. Your input will be valuable in helping to determine the best choice.

The access study is a collaborative effort between ITD and Mountain Home to provide long-range guidance on safer configurations for American Legion Blvd. The design promotes safety while ensuring the public can access businesses along the corridor. Once finalized, this plan will provide up-front information for businesses seeking to develop in the area, enhancing the local economy.

The comment period for this study will end May 15, 2018.