ITD phishing scheme serves as a reminder to stay vigilant against outside cyber threats

In recent weeks, an Idaho Transportation Department Division of Motor Vehicles employee email account was compromised through an external phishing attempt.

In early January, ITD learned that an unauthorized individual used a phishing scheme to gain potential access to an employee’s email account. ITD secured the employee’s email account, reported the incident to law enforcement and the Department of Administration, and engaged a leading computer forensic firm to assist the agency.

In this incident, the attack came out of Nigeria and convinced an employee to give up their credentials.

The initial phase of the investigation determined the information of some customers could have been accessed by a third-party. Since that time, no abuse or theft had been reported. The investigation also determined that access was limited to a single employee email box and 89 customer’s potential information. ITD contacted potentially affected customers offering free credit monitoring.

This event is a good reminder that everyone is under constant threat whether at work or at home to this type of event. Think before you click and if you feel something isn’t right in the workplace, reach out to cyber security.

For more information, please contact ITD Communication Manager Vincent Trimboli at 208.334.8817.








Kootenai County partners with ITD to build new path along US-95

US-95 Path

Kootenai County signed a maintenance agreement yesterday with the Idaho Transportation Department to maintain a multi-use path that will extend along 19 miles of US-95 in northern Idaho.

Per the agreement, ITD will reconstruct approximately eight miles of the existing path along the highway from Appleway Avenue to Garwood Road during the summer of 2019. The department will also construct a new path from Garwood Road north to the county line, with construction anticipated in 2020 and 2021.

The entire path will cost $3.2 million to rebuild and construct out to the county line. The county will receive $50,000 from ITD to help with future maintenance responsibilities.

Funds to reconstruct the existing path will come from a $5.1 million FASTLANE grant, which was awarded to ITD and the Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization in October 2016 to optimmize the US-95 corridor. To enhance mobility and safety through the corridor, grant funding will also be used to achieve uniform signal spacing, which will require the addition and elimination of some signals.

As ITD continues to design projects to expand US-95 to four lanes, the trail could be extended north to Sagle. The department is currently working with local jurisdictions to construct a new path from the Kootenai County line to Trails End Road in Bonner County as part of future improvements.

State code prevents the department from building paths without first finding local jurisdictions committed to maintaining them. The trail between Appleway Avenue and Garwood Road, which was built in the 1980s, predates this policy.

The agreement with the county eliminates the department’s last path to maintain in the state.

Pavement restoration to begin from Payette to Weiser in April

Pavement restoration on 12 miles of US-95, from the Payette north city limit to the Weiser River Bridge, is set to begin early April 2018.

Completion is anticipated by June. The project will extend the life of the road and provide for a smoother ride.

Construction crews plan to complete the project in two phases. In early April (Phase 1), traffic will be reduced to one lane with a pilot car leading motorists through the work zone. Traffic will return to normal conditions in mid/late April.

In early May (Phase 2), crews will return to complete the restoration. Traffic will again be reduced to one lane with a pilot car. During both phases, motorists should anticipate delays of 15 minutes or more.

Work is scheduled Monday-Friday, 24 hours a day. Night work is anticipated. Saturday work is permitted, although not anticipated. During weekends, traffic will return to normal conditions with reduced speeds.
Area businesses and residents may experience construction-related noise and lights.

Western Construction is the contractor on this $6.1 million project.

For up-to-date construction information, visit

Monet flutters record 662 miles from Idaho to California

A monarch butterfly named Monet, reared by Melinda Lowe of ITD’s Environmental Section, recently made history by completing a flight from Lowe’s Treasure Valley home to a swimming pool in California.

The monarch (Danaus plexippus) set out from Boise on Sept. 4, 2017, and was rescued from the pool March 2, 2018.

Biologists studying the movements of the declining species tracked the monarch by the research tag placed on her wing (see photo below). It is the first documented case of a monarch, tagged as part of Washington State University’s program, to make the journey from Idaho to California.

The monarch was reared in Idaho by Lowe, who brought her home in early August 2017. Lowe had a butterfly cage specially built for her, where Monet grew fat and happy. eating freshly picked showy milkweed leaves (see photo at right).

After a month, Monet emerged from her chrysalis and became a California-bound butterfly that Lowe released that evening, just four hours later.

“She immediately flew up and out of the yard and toward the west. “I flapped my hand waving goodbye. Such a bittersweet moment,” Lowe said.

The butterfly, officially named B1861, flew approximately 662 miles southwest and into southern California before settling in the greater Santa Barbara area.

“This is big news. Monet is the first Idaho monarch in my study to be recovered in California, and at six months of age, she is the longest-lived monarch documented in this Washington State University tagging effort,” said Dr. David James, an associate professor at WSU specializing in invertebrate conservation. “Monet will go down in Idaho monarch history, that’s for sure.”

The California homeowner found the butterfly a few hundred yards from a known overwintering site where the female butterfly likely spent the winter. After fishing her from the pool, the homeowner released the butterfly, which apparently was fine after the near-death experience. The homeowner then contacted Dr. James, who in turn contacted Lowe.

“Hopefully, she is now heading inland from Goleta, California, with dry wings seeking milkweed to lay her eggs,” said Dr. James.

The monarch butterfly is a national priority species for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Community-based projects in Idaho’s Treasure Valley and throughout the country are helping to enhance and restore habitat to benefit the monarch. This beautiful orange and black species is known for migration between its over-wintering grounds in central Mexico and California, to its spring and summer breeding grounds in the northern and interior portions of the United States and Canada. This butterfly requires milkweed plants to reproduce, and female monarchs will only lay eggs on milkweeds. Native milkweeds are the primary food sources for monarch caterpillars.

Monarch butterflies and other pollinators are in trouble. The decline of these species may be attributed to habitat fragmentation, urban and agricultural development, pesticide use and lack of nectar plants for food. In the case of the migratory monarch, the lack of native milkweed is believed to be a critical limiting factor.

Learn more about our efforts to save the monarch at

Child Pedestrian Safety projects start in spring

BOISE – A dozen sidewalk and pathway projects benefiting child pedestrian safety will be built this year across the state beginning this spring.

There were 71 eligible project applications requesting more than $12M in funds to consider in this year’s funding cycle (there was just $2M in funding available). The maximum award is $250,000. Construction must be completed before the end of the year.

The projects are thanks to collaboration between the Idaho Transportation Department and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, after a legislative effort last year. They are funded with general fund surplus money approved by the Idaho Legislature during the 2017 session.

The following 12 projects were approved for funding:

Location        Amount
Ashton            $250,000
Title: Main Street sidewalk improvements
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk and lighting improvements along Main St. (ID-47) to connect with the existing pedestrian system at the high school.

Blackfoot         $171,000
Title: Ridge Crest Elementary Safety Improvements Project
Description: This project will provide a 575-foot section of sidewalk along Airport Road to extend the sidewalk from Ridgecrest Elementary to the park. Additional safety improvements include a pedestrian crossing at East Airport Road.

Burley             $191,000
Title: Highland Avenue and East 19th Street Sidewalk Connection
Description: This project will provide nearly a half-mile of new sidewalk and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-compliant ramps that connect two schools along Highland Avenue. The schools are White Pine Intermediate and Dworshack Elementary.

Caldwell          $109,446
Title: Sacajawea Elementary School Project
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk, updated ADA curb ramps, bike lanes, and streetlights, and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon along Illinois Avenue to provide a safe route to school for children travelling to Sacajawea Elementary.

Carey               $154,640
Title: Crosswalk Signage and Pedestrian Improvement Project
Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along ID-26 and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians walking across the state highway.

Driggs               $125,000
Title: South 5th Street Pathway
Description: This project will provide approximately 1,600 feet of 10-foot-wide multiuse path and ADA ramps along South 5th Street, connecting four schools to residential areas. This project extends an existing safe route to school.

Firth                  $250,000
Title: Children Pedestrian Improvements
Description: This project will provide new curb, gutter, and sidewalk along Center Street from Main St. (ID-91) to the elementary school. Additional safety improvements include a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon signal on Main St.

Idaho Falls         $240,000
Title: Iona Street, Riverside Drive and Bush Elementary Connections
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along Iona Street and a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon for safe crossings at Riverside Drive (a busy street near an interchange). A second location includes sidewalk connections to Bush Elementary.

Marsing              $35,326
Title: ID-55 Sidewalk Project
Description: This project will provide new sidewalk along ID-55, connecting the public library and downtown with the elementary, middle, and high schools.

Moscow             $250,000
Title: Third Street Corridor Improvements
Description: This project will provide about 970 feet of new sidewalk along 3rd Street, connecting two elementary schools and the high school along a safe route to school. Additional safety improvements include adding center medians, curb extensions, vertical tube delineator (high-visibility markings), and school-zone lighting.

Shelley                $135,000
Title: Locust and US-91 Improvements
Description: This project will install a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon at the intersection of ID-91 and Locust Street to provide a safe pedestrian crossing for students going to the school or library.

Teton                  $28,000
Title: Child Pedestrian Safety Project
Description: This project will install Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons at two intersections along ID-33 south of Teton Elementary to provide safe crossing for students going to and from school.

ITD tests new traffic infrastructure in CDA

D1 Traffic Signal

In an effort to improve mobility at a major intersection in Coeur d’Alene, ITD’s North Idaho (District 1) traffic engineers activated a new signal function in December.

The signal at the Fourth Street on-ramp to Interstate 90 heading west now allows two lanes of traffic to turn left after yielding to oncoming vehicles and pedestrians. While local drivers may be familiar with how flashing yellow arrows function, this is the first site in the district—and the state—to use double flashing yellow arrows.

“This is one of the busiest intersections in the Coeur d’Alene metropolitan area, which is the fastest-growing area in the state,” ITD District 1 Traffic Engineer Ben Ward said. “We’re open to finding new ways to move more cars through.”

The idea began with former traffic engineer Ryan Hawkins, who first saw a signal like this while passing through Kennewick, Washington, nearly three years ago.

“Technology like this can be leveraged to maintain mobility in congested corridors,” Hawkins said. “We can’t build our way out of this congestion, so we have to identify other options to optimize the infrastructure we currently have.”

After his trip through Kennewick, Hawkins talked to signal manufacturers and brought the idea back to the department’s working groups tasked with identifying innovative solutions. Access to westbound I-90 from Fourth Street became an informal test site for the rest of the state.

Ward said he was initially concerned the public would be confused when approaching this intersection, but since activating the new function three months ago, there have been no issues.

“We haven’t received any concerned calls, and there haven’t been any crashes out there because of the signal,” Ward said. “The signal is moving traffic better.”

Since there are not many signals like this in the region, Ward plans to monitor the site to determine if this technology should be implemented at other busy intersections, such as Prairie Avenue and ID-41 in an upcoming project.

“Right now, we are still watching the signal to make sure it is safe before we start installing more,” Ward said. “So far, so good.”

ITD’s Buehrig building Bridges to Prosperity  

Opportunities like the one in front of ITD’s Alan Buehrig are few and far between.

Buehrig, an ITD Bridge Engineer for the last two years, is leaving March 16 to travel to Panama for two weeks to participate in the Bridges to Prosperity (B2P) program.

Alan (pictured above at left) will be the Safety Officer on the project. A group of about 10 people from other departments of transportation, and representing private-engineering firms, contractors, and fabricators, also are going.

Buehrig’s group will construct a steel suspension bridge — the 100-foot span will connect a portion of the community to the outside roadway. The bridge will provide safe pedestrian access across the Rio Tuancle (from one side of the community to the other) year-round, especially important during the rainy season when the river swells dramatically.
Building the bridges over impassable rivers in isolated communities creates access for residents to school, markets, health clinics, and greater economic opportunity.

B2P’s founder, Ken Frantz, started the nonprofit organization in 2001 after seeing a photo in National Geographic of folks in war-torn Ethiopia struggling to get access to needed services by crossing the Blue Nile River.

See link for history of B2P:

“This is a unique opportunity to contribute to B2P’s extraordinary mission,” Buehrig said.  “I chose to become a civil engineer out of a desire to build meaningful infrastructure that directly improves people’s lives, and this definitely fits those goals.

“I also hope to broaden my knowledge of other cultures and to become a better engineer through working side by side with others across the bridge industry.”

The bridge is being built in El Macho, a small spread-out village of some 300 people located about 320 kilometers west of Panama City.

B2P is already on site, working with the local community to build the foundations. A few community volunteers are already working on it. It is B2P’s goal is to complete these projects in collaboration with the local communities.

In 2017, the NSBA (National Steel Bridge Alliance) gave a presentation to the ITD Bridge section about the program, and encouraged interested volunteers to reach out to NSBA.

Buehrig was intrigued.


Buehrig’s Bridges to Prosperity trip delayed

On the eve of his trip to Panama with the Bridges to Prosperity program, Buehrig had his plan scuttled due to unforeseen emergent circumstances.

New signal feature installed at Eagle and Ustick

No Right LED Sign

There’s a new feature on two signals along Eagle Road in Boise that’s sure to grab your attention: LED signs that light up to display a “no right turn” message.

Yield to U sign
A static sign reads “Yield to U-Turns”

Two signs have been placed on the intersection of Ustick and Eagle. It can be seen by the cars traveling the east-west Ustick corridor. The signs light up when cars on Eagle have a green left arrow light. The purpose is to prevent collisions between traffic making legal U-turns on Eagle and cars turning right off of Ustick.

While no crashes have been reported in this area, a number of near misses have been observed.

“This should eliminate those,” said ITD traffic engineer Erika Bowen. “We’re looking at doing a pilot for it. If this is successful, ITD plans on installing them up and down the Eagle Rd. corridor.”

Currently, many intersections on the corridor feature a sign advising those turning right to “Yield to U-Turns.” The new signs actively turn on and off only when necessary. The hope is the change will grab a driver’s attention and induce safer behavior.

The pilot program is a partnership between ITD and the Ada County Highway District.

Public hearing held in CDA on March 12 for US-95/Walnut Avenue/Lincoln Way intersection improvements

US-95: IC #430 to Lacrosse Ave

ITD will hold a public hearing on March 12 to gather public comment on plans to expand US-95 to four lanes through an improved US-95/Walnut Avenue/Lincoln Way intersection in Coeur d’Alene. Proposed improvements will enhance safety and mobility in the corridor.

The hearing will be held at Winton Elementary School at 920 W. Lacrosse Avenue. The hearing will follow open-house format, and the public is invited to arrive anytime between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. to view displays and interact with project staff. 

The section of the highway between Upriver Road and Linden Ave, which includes the US-95/Walnut Avenue/Lincoln Way intersection, is one of the only remaining two-lane sections between Worley and Athol.

The current layout of the intersection can be confusing for drivers, as it allows US-95 thru traffic to flow freely but subjects all other movements to a three-way stop condition. Due to high traffic volumes and the complicated layout, this intersection is a high risk for crashes and near misses.

To increase safety and mobility, proposed improvements include adding an additional lane in each direction of the highway and modifying access to cross streets in the area. The project is scheduled to be constructed in 2020 for $5.4 million.

For more information on this project, or to comment online, visit the D1 page, select the Projects tab and choose “US-95: IC #430 and Lacrosse Avenue.”

Comments may also be emailed to the project manager at or addressed to Kyle Schrader at Idaho Transportation Dept., 600 W. Prairie Ave., Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 83815.

Comments will be accepted through March 26, 2018.

New signs at Lewiston port signal big money and time savings

POE Bypass

Drivers traveling in the Lewiston area in the last month may have noticed some new signs near the Port of Entry along US-95. The signs are the most visible indication of significant money and time savings for commercial drivers.

The new signs are part of an updated system designed to improve the mobility of freight in the area, save time on the road, safeguard taxpayer money and support economic opportunity in the region. Signs are now used to signal commercial rigs to bypass the port if the truck’s weight, height, length, safety rating and credentials are in adherence with the law.

Highway sensors verify the criteria above prior to trucks reaching the port so that flashing signs can alert drivers if they may continue or need to stop.

Recent improvements cost $750,000 but are expected to save much more.

The updated weigh-in-motion system is expected to allow up to 70 percent of commercial traffic heading out of the city and another 50 percent heading into the city to bypass the port just south of town.

Trucks that can bypass a port save an average of five minutes of time per incident and almost a half a gallon of fuel. This amounts to a savings of about $8.68 per bypass, according to an analysis of these systems by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Approximately 800 commercial trucks access the Lewiston area every day, meaning improvements at this port alone will save the trucking industry more than $900,000 this year.

Last year, commercial trucks using similar systems to bypass four Idaho ports saved the trucking industry $3.475 million.

“This technology saves our commercial drivers significant time and money, especially for local drivers who pass through the port three to four times on a normal day,” said Ron Morgan, the supervisor of the Lewiston ports.

Vehicles that bypass also benefit the state and other drivers by reducing congestion around weigh stations and enabling inspectors to focus their efforts on other carriers.

“The recent updates to the system reflect the department’s commitment to building a transportation system that supports economic opportunity and mobility in the area,” Morgan said.