Idaho receives nearly $37 million from federal Airport Improvement Program

BOISE – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently awarded nearly $37 million in grants to Idaho airports from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

In all, 23 recipients received 32 FAA-AIP grants to maintain and improve Idaho’s airport facilities. This is the culmination of a joint federal, state, and local airport process to address air transportation in Idaho.

“Idaho’s quality airport system requires regular investment,” Idaho Division of Aeronautics Administrator Mike Pape said. “With that level of interest and commitment, Idaho will keep and improve a world-renowned airport system that services the citizens of Idaho to meet goals for mobility, safety, and economic opportunity.”

Some highlights:
– Idaho’s six primary (passenger) airports received grants totaling $28,961,834.
– Idaho’s federally eligible General Aviation airports received grants totaling $7,619,553.
– The Idaho Division of Aeronautics received a grant for $410,000 to update their Airport System Plan.

The state of Idaho, through ITD’s Division of Aeronautics, has provided an additional $1 million to assist airport owners in meeting the matching-funds obligation that is part of the FAA-AIP funding and to provide funding for small community airports that do not qualify for federal funding.

The list includes grants for these major projects:

McCarley Field/Blackfoot 
Rehabilitate Taxiway
$1,155,863

Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field
Rehabilitate Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Building
$3,560,586

Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field
Rehabilitate Taxiway & Improve Safety Area
$3,922,633

Friedman Memorial
Rehabilitate Runway, Snow Removal Equipment & Expand North Terminal Apron
$2,624,098

Idaho Falls Regional
Reconstruct Taxiways & Install Guidance Signs
$7,813,597

Jerome County 
Rehabilitate Apron & Reconstruct Taxiway
$1,137,390

Lewiston-Nez Perce County
Construct buildings for Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting, Snow Removal Equipment
$4,368,551
Acquire Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle
$598,275

Magic Valley Regional
Construct Taxiway, Acquire Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle
$1,228,658
Rehabilitate Taxiway & Reconstruct Taxiway
$3,460,768

McCall Municipal 
Reconstruct Apron
$1,250,797

Mountain Home Municipal 
Reconstruct Apron
$1,050,267

Pocatello Regional
Rehabilitate Runway 03-21, Reconstruct Taxiway, Rehabilitate Runway 17-35, Rehabilitate Taxiway, Acquire Snow-Removal Equipment
$998,437

$8M in funding available for Transportation Alternatives Program involving walking, biking

The Idaho Transportation Department is looking for walking or biking projects to be funded by nearly $8 million available through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). TAP uses federal funds to provide a variety of alternative transportation projects that advance ITD’s strategic goals of safety, mobility, and economic opportunity.

Programs and projects such as on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects that improve access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, and safe routes to school educational projects, are eligible for TAP funding. Eligibility is contingent upon a project sponsor’s cash-only contribution to the project, right of way must be secured, and environmental requirements that do not exceed certain thresholds.

Please visit the TAP section of the department’s website at: http://itd.idaho.gov/alt-programs  to access the new application and instructions for submitting.

Final applications must be submitted to ITD electronically by December 1, 2017 at 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

 

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE DOWN ON THORNTON: Eastern Idaho project wins President’s and People’s Choice awards, plus $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis

The Idaho Transportation Department Thornton Interchange project won the America’s Transportation “People’s Choice” vote today, along with a President’s Award from a national transportation industry group.

The America’s Transportation Awards (ATA) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) President’s Awards winners were announced today (Wednesday, Sept. 27) in Phoenix, Arizona.

The opening of the new Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg last November culminated 16 years of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built along a 34-mile stretch of the highway between Idaho Falls and Sugar City.

Watch the video of the Thornton project.

Despite traffic volumes doubling during that time, improvements reduced serious-injury crashes by 75% and cut fatalities to less than one per year.

This marks the fourth Idaho project to advance to the national People’s Choice stage of America’s Transportation Awards since 2013. None of the four has finished lower than third in the public voting, furthering ITD’s reputation as a national leader. It is also the 11th AASHTO President’s Award for ITD since Director Brian Ness arrived in 2010.

ATA awards are a joint effort of AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The new Thornton Interchange greatly improves safety and mobility in Eastern Idaho and is saving lives,” said Ness. “This award shows ITD is now recognized nationally as an agency that finds better, more innovative ways to build projects that put the focus on serving the citizens.”

Completion of the Thornton Interchange removes dangerous at-grade intersections and makes the busy route a continuous four-lane divided highway from Idaho Falls to Sugar City.

“This honor and the national awards we have won are all employee driven. We empower our team to make decisions closer to where the work is being done and that has made us a more efficient and effective organization,” Ness added. “It’s this philosophy that is helping us to become the best transportation department in the country.”

Several innovations during the project saved ITD almost $450,000.

“Providing the contractor with a 3-D model for the Thornton Interchange and requiring the contractor to use automated grade control during construction shortened the required construction time and reduced the impact to traffic through the busiest part of the summer,” said ITD eastern Idaho District Engineering Manager Wade Allen.

“ITD will partner with the Idaho/Utah Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by donating the prize money to them,” ITD eastern Idaho District Engineer Jason Minzghor said. Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and eventually limits one’s ability to breathe.

Another sign of winter – studded tires legal Oct. 1 in Idaho

Studded tires are legal in Idaho from Oct. 1 to April 30

Snowstorms may not be part of the immediate weather forecast in the lower elevations and valleys of Idaho, but they’ve already made an appearance in the higher elevations and mountain passes. Accordingly, Oct. 1 marks the date for legal use of studded tires in Idaho. Idaho’s studded snow tire season continues through April 30.

While it may be legal to use the tires, officials advise against it unless conditions warrant. Studded tires are snow tires with small metal cleats embedded in the tread, and may cause undue wear on bare roadways.

Studded tire laws vary in neighboring states:

  • Montana: Oct. 1 – May 31
  • Nevada: Oct. 1 – April 30
  • Utah: Oct. 15 – April 15
  • Oregon: Nov. 1 – March 31
  • Washington: Nov. 1 – March 31
  • Wyoming: Legal all year

For weekly updates on highway construction projects in Idaho, call the Idaho Road Report at 511 or 1-888-IDA-ROAD (432-7623). For online updates, visit the transportation department’s road report at 511.idaho.gov.

Daily reports on winter road conditions are provided from November through April.

The transportation department is helping drivers stay safe with the annual Winter Safety Campaign. Check the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages. You also can visit our Road Maintenance page and click on the “Winter Driving” tab for helpful videos and other information.

Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 17-23 reminds drivers to keep young ones safe, offers free safety checks

 

Keeping children safe on the road means putting them in the right safety restraint at the right age.

That’s the message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) during National Child Passenger Safety Week Sept. 17–23. See Governor’s Proclamation.

Motor-vehicle traffic crashes are a leading killer of children, but properly used child-safety seats have been shown to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (under 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old).

“From 2011 to 2015, 12 children under the age of seven that were killed in Idaho passenger-vehicle crashes were unrestrained,” said Sherry Jenkins, with ITD’s Office of Highway Safety. “Those kids would likely have survived, or had a much better chance, had they been properly buckled up.”

Idaho has more than 260 certified child passenger safety technicians committed to educating parents and caregivers about the best ways to keep kids safe while traveling in cars, no matter how short or long the trip.

To help parents and caregivers in Idaho select the right car seats for their children, certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians will hold free car seat-check events. Call to make an appointment for any of the following events:

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 3 p.m. – 6 p.m., Walmart, 2470 Pullman Road, Moscow (no appointment necessary)
Friday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., Nell Redfield-Oneida County Facility, 150 N. 300 W. 208 766-5368.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Shoshone Medical Health and Wellness, 858 Commerce Drive, Smelterville, 208 625-4642.
Saturday, Sept. 23, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., St. Luke’s Nampa Medical Center, 9850 W. St. Luke’s Drive, 208 870-3493

Motor-vehicle crashes are a leading killer of children ages 1 to 13. Jenkins said using age- and size-appropriate child restraints are the best way to reduce these deaths

“Car seats, booster seats, and seat belts are often used incorrectly, but no parent ever wants to get it wrong when it comes to his or her child’s safety,” said Jenkins. “That’s why we’re hosting these consumer-education events during National Child Passenger Safety Week. Parents can know for sure that their kids are as safe as possible when riding in a car.”

“When children under seven years old grow out of car seats, their greatest risk is not being placed in booster seats,” Jenkins added. “Booster seats can save lives and are as important as any of the other restraints. And, they’re available for as little as $20.”

Child Passenger Safety Week is dedicated to teaching parents and caregivers the importance of correctly installing and using car seats, booster seats and seat belts. It is important to register car seats with the manufacturer so parents can be notified in the event of a recall.

NHTSA recommends keeping children rear-facing as long as possible up to the top height or weight allowed by their particular seats. Once a child outgrows the rear-facing car seat, he or she is ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. After outgrowing car seats, children should be placed in booster seats until they are big enough to fit seat belts properly without help from a booster seat.

The safest place for all kids under 13 is in the back seat of the car.

For more information on child car safety, go to safercar.gov or http://itd.idaho.gov/ohs/ChildSafety/index.html

Eagle’s Salmon rescue, response to POE car fire show ITD concern for public safety

A few recent incidents highlight the safety role of Idaho Transportation Department workers in their everyday jobs, serving the citizens of Idaho. Here are a few of those stories:

Eagle’s Salmon rescue sheds light on fire-extinguisher checks

Like cellphones, or most of us after a few late nights in a row, fire extinguishers need to be recharged periodically to be at their full potential. That was never more evident than the morning of August 7, as ITD Salmon Maintenance Foreman Jeff Eagle raced to an overturned vehicle on US-93 and a young girl screaming for help inside.

He was her only hope at the moment, but even as he ran, he had to wonder if his fire extinguisher would even work.

On that Tuesday morning, Jeff started the day thinking about a sign installation. On his way back to Salmon, however, he glanced in his rear view mirror and witnessed a car over-correcting as it went off the road a few hundred feet behind him. The car came back across the roadway, but luckily there was no oncoming traffic. The car rolled.

“It was the most violent vehicle rollover I have ever witnessed,” said Eagle. “It went airborne and rolled at least 5 or 6 times and landed on its side against a landowner’s fence in an irrigation ditch.”

Eagle stopped and turned around to help. As the first one on the scene, he called StateComm and asked for an ambulance and sheriff to assist.

“I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty when I ran to the vehicle. When I came upon the car, it was severely damaged and crushed. I couldn’t even tell what kind of car it was. What I saw next was horrifying. There was a young girl pinned under the rear axle of the car. She was awake but screaming. I tried to comfort her as well as I could.”

He then realized the engine was still running.

“I couldn’t believe there was still an engine left in the car. I had to shut the engine off before it caught fire. There was no one else involved in the wreck, so I tried to get my arm through the car window to shut off the engine. It was difficult and the key was bent, so my first attempt failed.”

With his adrenaline kicked in, the second attempt to turn the engine off was successful. “I was able to turn the key just enough to shut it off,” Eagle explained.

“I was somewhat relieved, but also knew it could still catch on fire from the hot engine. Then the second thought hit me.’ I HAVE NEVER CHECKED THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IN MY ITD PICKUP TO SEE IF IT WAS STILL CHARGED.'”

“What would I have been able to do if the car would have caught on fire with that young girl pinned under it? Fortunately, it did not and my fire extinguisher was charged. What a break.”

“We have always been fairly good about checking the fire extinguishers in the buildings, but we need to be more diligent in checking the ones in the equipment and other vehicles in case we are put into this circumstance while doing our jobs.”

District 6 Safety Compliance Officer Ron Butler explained that fire extinguishers are checked annually and tested as needed. This year, we found six trucks, three loaders, and several pickups or cars with fire extinguishers that needed to be recharged. They had not been used, but had leaked off anyway.

“We try to get to all vehicles and buildings, but often miss a few because they are out on job sites, so check your extinguishers and if they don’t have a 2017 tag on them, change them out so you know you have a good working unit,” he added.

Eagle concurs.

“It only takes a minute. It would not hurt to have a fire extinguisher in our personal vehicles also,” he said.

Note: Eagle said the girl didn’t have to be Life Flighted from the scene, thank goodness!

 

East & West Boise POE inspectors help tame car fire Aug. 2          

ITD Port of Entry inspectors from the East and West Boise facilities collaborated to put out a car fire at the port on Aug. 2, with help from a couple of truck drivers.

Inspector Kyle Perkins spotted a car on fire from the shoulder of Interstate 84 just past the East Boise Port of Entry, and alerted Port of Entry inspectors on the westbound side. Devin Dascenzo, April Jordan, and Jeff Butler. Inspector Scott Conrad was already in route to the car fire from the east port.

Dascenzo and Butler grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran up the westbound ramp to the car fire, while April closed down the westbound port. By the time Devin and Jeff arrived, Conrad had already exhausted a pair of fire extinguishers from the port car. Two truck drivers stopped and added their own fire extinguishers to help tame the blaze.

Jeff and Devin sat up cones to keep interstate traffic away from the shoulder without closing down a lane of traffic, and then helped the driver gather as many of his personal items from the car as possible. Once fire responders left the scene, port personnel made sure a tow truck was in route.

The quick reaction helped prevent injury to the driver, stopped a potential wildfire and kept traffic safely moving.

 

Ah Yee’s parking premonition proves prophetic          

An observant employee’s decision to park a truck in mid-June kept north Idaho drivers safe.

Chance Ah Yee, an ITD Port of Entry Inspector at the Huetter POE, noticed that a driver was slow in his response to questions. The driver was having real difficulty. Chance became concerned.

The driver said that he had been sick for the past week and was feeling fatigued. To protect the traveling public and the driver, Chance ordered the driver to park his rig.

A month later the driver contacted the Huetter Port of Entry to thank Chance. The driver had suffered a stroke just one day after Ah Yee ordered the truck parked.

“Chance did a great job of sensing something was wrong and using his discretion to prevent a potential accident,” said ITD Compliance Manager Reymundo Rodriguez.

Safety is a top concern for ITD – here are a few examples:

Idaho is home to a lot of rural roadways that present some unique safety challenges. Here are a few recent initiatives from ITD to improve public safety on those routes:

SPOTLIGHTING DANGEROUS CURVES
If you ever played a driving video game, then you’ve seen the big flashing arrows that warn you when a curve is coming up and which way to turn. You’re not very likely to run into the wall, but follow directional arrows around the curve and go for the finish line.

Big electronic flashing arrows might be effective in a fast-paced game, but would not be very efficient on some of Idaho’s rural highways.

Here’s the rest of the story

RURAL INTERSECTION CONFLICT WARNING SYSTEM
Rural highway intersections can be hazardous if drivers are not aware of upcoming stops and free-flowing traffic crossing their paths. Here’s a lower-cost system to help save lives.

Here’s the rest of the story

 

Public can vote for Idaho’s Thornton Interchange project for national honor and $10k charity prize

The Idaho Transportation Department project to rebuild the Thornton Interchange is a national finalist in the “People’s Choice” category of the America’s Transportation Awards (ATA).

Public voting is open and continuing through Sept. 21 online at www.AmericasTransportationAwards.org.

The project previously won ATA regional honors in late June. Idaho’s Thornton project was selected by the judges to move on to The People’s Choice award (and/or Grand Prize) and a shot at $10,000 in prize money. The prize money will be donated to a charity or scholarship program chosen by the winning state department of transportation. The winner will be announced Sept. 27 in Phoenix.

The awards are a joint effort of AASHTO (the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials), AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“This shows that the Idaho Transportation Department is being recognized as one of the best transportation departments in the country, and ultimately this excellence benefits all of Idaho’s drivers,” said ITD Eastern Idaho District Engineer Jason Minzghor.

“The Thornton project will greatly enhance safety and mobility in eastern Idaho area, and most importantly, saves lives.”

The opening of the new Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg marked the culmination of more than a decade of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built in a 34-mile stretch of U.S. 20 between Idaho Falls and Sugar City to improve access management and traffic flow for greater highway safety and mobility.

Watch the video of the Thornton project below.

Despite traffic volumes more than doubling, these improvements drastically decreased serious-injury crashes and fatalities. In addition, several money-saving innovations and technological advances saved at least $450,000.

“Providing the contractor with a 3-D model for the Thornton Interchange and requiring them to use automated grade control during construction shortened the required construction time and reduced the impact to traffic through the busiest part of the summer,” said ITD District 6 Engineering Manager Wade Allen.

This marks the fourth Idaho project to advance to the national People’s Choice stage of the America’s Transportation Awards since 2013.

 

ITD offers back-to-school safety tips for kids, parents, and drivers

The Idaho Transportation Department is committed to safety for all members of the public — even for the smaller, younger members of our communities. Most school zones have been vacant for the past few months – but that’s all changing. Here are some back-to-school safety tips from ITD:

SCHOOL SAFETY: Return to school requires renewed safety focus

SCHOOL SAFETY: Children, drivers should follow bus-safety guidelines

SCHOOL SAFETY: Make sure vehicle is road ready before handing keys to teen drivers

SCHOOL SAFETY: School zones require reduced speeds, increased awareness

SCHOOL SAFETY: Parents should prepare children before walks to school

Please, drivers: Celebrate eclipse, don’t add impairment to the mix

Summer is winding down, but with the Great American Eclipse and Labor Day weekend just around the corner, Idaho’s summer travel season should be busy to the very end. Sadly, both events have the potential to become tragic, with drunk drivers endangering themselves and others on Idaho’s roadways.

In an effort to reduce drunk driving crashes and to save lives, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is partnering with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and law enforcement agencies across Idaho for a high-visibility mobilization.

The high-visibility national enforcement campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, begins this week and runs through the Labor Day weekend holiday. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for drunk driving.

“Our goal is to have zero traffic-related deaths in Idaho,” said Ken Corder from the Office of Highway Safety. “Seeing more officers on the roads during this busy time of year will serve as a reminder to drivers that we all need to do our part to keep our roads safe.”

According to NHTSA, 10,265 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2015 – approximately one person died every 51 minutes as a result of drunk driving. During the mobilization, officers will have a zero-tolerance stance on drunk driving.

“Between the eclipse and Labor Day, we expect to see more people out enjoying the last few weekends of summer,” Corder said. “We want people to enjoy these events safely – if you plan to drink, use a designated driver, call a taxi, use a ride sharing app or call a friend or family member. There’s no reason to get behind the wheel if you choose to drink.”

ITD and NHTSA are reminding citizens of the many resources available to get them home safely.

“Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior,” said Idaho Highway Safety Manager, John Tomlinson. “It is essential to plan a sober ride home before you ever leave for the party. That’s why, from the Eclipse through the Labor Day holiday, we will make zero exceptions for drunk driving. There are just no excuses,” he said.