Sealcoating to begin next week in Elmore and Camas counties

Image of US-20 near Fairfield

Weather permitting, on Monday (June 1) the Idaho Transportation Department will begin sealcoating a portion of US-20 west of Fairfield from milepost 124 to 151 to preserve the pavement.

“Over the next two weeks, we will sealcoat approximately 27 miles of highway,” said ITD Project Manager Sam Purser. “This is the final stage of the US-20 paving and safety improvement project that took place in that area last year.”

While work is underway, the roadway will be reduced to a single lane. Both lanes will be open to traffic outside of working hours.

Motorists should anticipate short delays and watch for the presence of flaggers or pilot cars during the day.

Sealcoating is a surface treatment that takes place during the summer months to preserve and extend the life of Idaho’s roadways by applying a layer of oil and rock chips. It also provides a skid-resistant surface for better vehicle traction.

The process requires hot temperatures and dry weather for chips to properly adhere to the oil.

Chips placed during sealcoats have potential to cause windshield damage so drivers are cautioned to slow down and pay attention to reduced speeds and no-passing zones throughout the work area.

Two detours planned in June for US-30 widening project in Cassia County

Image of highway construction on US-30 in Burley.

Two detours are expected to occur next month in relation to the construction on US-30 from N 400 West to Parke Avenue in Burley.

“This project has been underway since February of this year, and we are expected to finish this fall,” said ITD Project Manager Kenny Lively. “We are transitioning four miles of the roadway from a two-lane to a four-lane highway which will enhance safety and increase mobility in the area.”

The first detour is scheduled to occur MondayJune 1 from 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Access to Bedke Boulevard from US-30 will be closed to through traffic. Motorists will need to use Idaho Highway 27 during this time while crews place new storm sewer and electrical components.

The second detour is scheduled to take place from SaturdayJune 6 to ThursdayJune 11 to allow Eastern Idaho Railroad to work on the nearby crossing. During this time, US-30 will be closed to through traffic between Parke Avenue and Washington Avenue. Motorists will be rerouted to West 16th Street.

Drivers should exercise caution and watch for signs which will be in place to safely direct motorists through the area.

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

Comment today on updated plans for the Interstate 90 and Idaho Highway 41 interchange

Aerial photo of the I-90 ID-41 interchange in 2020

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites community input on updated design and construction plans for the Interstate 90 and Idaho Highway 41 interchange via an online meeting at itdprojects.org/i90idaho-41 from today (May 28) to June 18.

“Our two previous open houses drew in 300 people,” ITD Project Manager Shannon Stein said. “We’d like to see that same level of engagement even though it’s online.”

The online meeting features narrated presentations on the interchange project, which includes the nearby intersection at Mullan Avenue. More details on construction, access for those who walk or bike and even an animated video are also available on the site.

“All of the information is online, but we’d like to remind everyone that we are still available via other channels to discuss these changes as well,” Stein said. “This is likely the last time people will have a chance to comment before we go to construction in 2023.”

Comments may be submitted via the website, calling (855) 785-2499, emailing shannon.stein@itd.idaho.gov or sending mail to 600 West Prairie Avenue, CDA, ID 83814 at the attention of Shannon Stein.

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.

A similar online meeting is being held for Idaho Highway 53 near Rathdrum and Hauser until June 8, with information available at itdprojects.org/id53corridor.

Southbound Eagle Road right turn lane from Eastbound Chinden closed during construction

Construction near the intersection of Chinden and Eagle Road

The dedicated right turn lane to Eagle Road from eastbound Chinden is closed during construction. Drivers are able to turn right to southbound Eagle Road from the thru lane.

This lane configuration will allow crews to construct new roadway on the south side of Chinden. Commuters should expect increased delays and use alternate routes when possible.

Additionally, Locust Grove at its intersection with Chinden will be closed the night of Friday, May 29th. Traffic will be detoured on McMillan Road to Meridian and Eagle roads.

For information specific to this one-mile section please visit https://itdprojects.org/chindenwestlocusttoeagle/

ITD DMV and county officials urge online renewals in response to COVID-19 caused backlog

DMV offices across the state are beginning to reopen their doors. But because of the earlier COVID-19 closures and limited service, there’s a backlog of thousands of Idahoans who need DMV services.

Tuesday, May 19, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), county sheriffs, and county assessors came together to urge drivers to use online services to help ease the backlog.

“The DMVs across the state typically conduct about 250,000 transactions a month, but because of the limited office access during COVID, we have a significant backlog of approximately 100,000 customers. We’re encouraging the public to go online, at itd.idaho.gov, and only go into the DMV office if it is absolutely necessary,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez.

“If you can renew online, we highly suggest it, and highly encourage it,” Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue added. “It’s so much more efficient for the customer and really for the staff so they’re not overburdened with a higher backlog than we already have, and we’re going to have backlog for some time.”

At itd.idaho.gov you can easily renew your license or vehicle registration, and more. By renewing online, you’ll save yourself time, and other’s time, reducing the wait for those who have to visit the DMV in person.

“It allows room for the people who truly need to come to our DMV. If they need to have a VIN inspection done before they transfer a title, out of state folks who we need to see their vehicles and get them through the system, we can’t do online,” said Canyon County Assessor Brian Stender.

“Use our renewal by mail or online so we can divert that population away from our office and leave that really for the people who are first time licenses or out of state,” added Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett, pictured right.

And not only are you practicing safe social distancing, renewing online is convenient too.

“You can do it from the comfort of your couch at home, you can do it on your lunch hour at work, it’s very simple, easy, and quick,” Stender said.

If you do need to make a visit to the DMV, be sure to call ahead before you go. Office hours and availability vary by county, and you may need to make an appointment. Licenses and registrations expiring between March 1st and May 31st now have until June 30th to renew. The federal deadline for the Star Card-Idaho’s REAL ID has also been extended a full year to October 2021.

“The higher number of people who go online, the better the service will be in the county offices, and the better we’ll be able to manage that backlog,” Gonzalez said.

Click here for the DMV’s online services and more.

 

 

Paving work to occur next week on US-93 in Jerome County

US-93 & 500 S in Jerome County

Paving operations are expected to begin next Tuesday (May 26) on a short section of US-93 just north of Flying J in Jerome County.

Weather permitting, work on this project is anticipated to last eight days.

Traffic will be reduced to a single lane in each direction throughout the work zone. The current traffic signal at 500 S Road will still be in operation. Flaggers may also be present during certain stages of the project.

Motorists should anticipate minor delays and watch for reduced speeds and workers throughout the work zone.

The general contractor is Idaho Materials and Construction.

With drivers back on the road, ITD kicks off another work zone awareness week

Crew removing brush on US-2 as an example of a short duration operation

National Work Zone Awareness Week is traditionally held in April, but with more drivers back on highways, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is again spotlighting work zone safety.

ITD asks media partners and drivers to tune in each day this week (May 18 – 23) to the department’s Facebook and Twitter pages to see different types of work zones.

Drivers are familiar with larger road construction projects, which are typically well-marked and have better visibility, but they may not be as familiar with short-duration operations.

These can pop up anywhere, at any time. Whether it is a highway worker stopping to remove a shredded tire or animal carcass from the road, or performing maintenance work like repairing guardrail right next to the travel lanes, these jobs generally put workers closer to the road, and closer to danger. There is less time for the worker or the driver to take evasive action when encountering short-duration operations.

Just last year, an ITD operator was killed outside Arco in a short-duration operation, reminding us all of the importance of being safe and vigilant in work zones across the state.

During this week, ITD also remembers the sacrifices of other workers lost over the years while on the job – many of them were killed in work zones. Since this picture was taken, there have been two more markers added to the Fallen Workers Memorial, bringing the total to 40 workers since 1960.

“Work zones can be the most hazardous areas on our state highway system,” ITD Safety Manager Randall Danner said. “We urge drivers to use extreme caution when passing through these areas so they can arrive at their destination safely and our workers can return home to their loved ones.”

In addition to short-duration maintenance operations, ITD has dozens of projects planned this year with information on itdprojects.org. Each project is different in terms of traffic revisions and reduced speed limits. Please check 511.idaho.gov for traveler information.

Comment online today for proposed changes to Idaho Highway 53

Photo of tire marks near the Hauser Lake Road and ID-53 intersection

The Idaho Transportation Department invites community input on proposed changes to Idaho Highway 53 near Rathdrum and Hauser via an online meeting at itdprojects.org/id53corridor from today (May 18) to June 8.

“Normally we would host an open house and engage with stakeholders in person,” said Steven Bakker, a project manager for one of several projects in that area. “We can’t do that right now, but with a little more effort, we hope to still have a constructive dialogue.”

The online meeting will feature narrated presentations on four separate projects designed to improve safety from Washington state line to Rathdrum by adding turn lanes and constructing a new interchange at Pleasant View Road. These changes will require more than $40 million in funding through 2027.

“Though we’ve moved much of this discussion online, we want to emphasize that we are still available in many ways to talk about these projects,” Bakker said.

Comments may be submitted via the website, calling (855) 785-2499, emailing id53corridor@itd.idaho.gov or sending mail to 600 West Prairie Avenue, CDA, ID 83814 at the attention of Steven Bakker.

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 them with other resources to participate.

Construction on I-84 in Jerome County to begin next week

Westbound Interstate 84 near Jerome, Idaho

Rehabilitation of the westbound lanes on Interstate 84 between Jerome and Twin Falls is expected to begin next Monday (May 11). Work will encompass approximately seven miles of highway (milepost 166 to 173) and provide a safer and smoother ride for motorists.

“Initial work will include construction of traffic crossovers and temporary ramps,” said ITD South-central Idaho Project Manager Brock Dillé. “Building a temporary ramp at Exit 173 will allow us to keep traffic moving without detouring motorists during construction.”

The first phase of the project is expected to last until July of this year. Once construction of crossovers and temporary ramps are complete, rehabilitation of the roadway will begin.

“This project was originally scheduled to begin in 2022,” said Dillé. “Due to efficiencies and cost-savings throughout the department, ITD was able to expedite this high priority route in order to provide a better highway for commercial and passenger vehicles two years earlier than anticipated.”

While construction is underway, traffic on this section of I-84 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction. Motorists should anticipate reduced speeds and watch for workers and heavy equipment throughout the work zone.

Rehabilitation of the westbound lanes is expected to be complete by the end of this year. Work on the eastbound lanes will begin in the spring of 2021.

The general contractor is Western Construction of Boise.

ITD DMV employees work from home to continue helping Idaho drivers

Beth Thompson

Idaho Transportation Department Division of Motor Vehicles employees continue to work hard from home to help Idaho drivers.

During this COVID-19 emergency, DMV Customer Contact Center employees are dedicated to keep assisting Idahoans with their DMV concerns while maintaining safe social distancing protocols. More than 160 people are working from home, answering phone calls related to all aspects of DMV operations. That includes driver’s licenses, vehicle registration and titles, motor carrier registration and permits, and vehicle dealer support. These DMV employees are taking more than 1,000 calls a day from the public, and more than 800 a day from county DMV offices across the state.

“We are living in a time of unprecedented uncertainty. It’s crucial that when the public, counties, or law enforcement of Idaho needs us with questions or assistance we are there on the other end of the call,” said Beth Thompson, Driver Records Program Supervisor. “Behind the scenes, ITD DMV is doing almost the entirety of the work from home. Whether it be a simple change of address or a complex issue regarding a driver’s license and suspension.”

They’re also helping process license and registration renewals by mail, over the phone, and online. As Idaho prepares to reopen for business, county DMV offices are adjusting hours of operation and services. ITD encourages drivers to use the online customer portal at itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho to reduce crowds and keep wait times down.

More Idahoans than ever are now using the DMV’s expanded online services. Online vehicle registrations grew from 16,000 in February to 31,000 in March, and are expected to reach over 40,000 in April. Online driver’s license and ID renewals increased from 900 in February to 2,400 in March, with 7,000 estimated in April.

Online DMV services at itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho include:

  • Driver’s license renewal (not for first-time Star Card)
  • Acquiring a replacement driver’s license or identification card
  • Paying driver’s license reinstatement fees
  • Purchasing a driving record
  • Vehicle registration renewal
  • Ordering personalized license plates
  • Checking status of vehicle plates and titles
  • Commercial vehicle oversize/overweight permits
  • Commercial vehicle registrations

The DMV has issued a 90-day extension on some credentials expiring between March 1 and May 31, 2020. This includes driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations that can be renewed online. Those expiring between March 1 and May 31 now have until June 30, 2020 to renew.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has also extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline one year, to October 1, 2021. This gives Idahoans an additional year to get the Star Card, Idaho’s REAL ID.

DMV office hours and services are determined by county sheriffs and assessors and vary statewide. Please contact your county office before you make the trip, and remember you can always call ITD’s DMV Customer Contact Center at 208.334.8000. Employees will be happy to help you even as they work from home.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my Driver Records team for weathering this storm like champions. They have handled it with integrity and grace and continue to give the very best customer service,” Thompson said.

For more information and resources visit itd.idaho.gov/driveidaho.