Eastbound lanes to close tonight on Chinden at the Linder intersection

Graphic of the closure of Chinden at Linder

As part of ongoing construction to widen Chinden in the Treasure Valley, several eastbound lanes on Chinden will close tonight at the Linder intersection and stay closed until construction on this segment ends later this summer.

Flaggers will reduce eastbound Chinden to one dedicated left turn lane and one through/right turn lane so crews can place traffic signal poles. Westbound traffic will not be affected, but eastbound motorists should expect significant delays at peak travel time and allow extra time to reach their destinations.

Download a graphic of the closure.

This configuration will remain in place until later this summer when work on this segment is anticipated to end. At that time, Chinden will open to four lanes, two in each direction, with a center median between Linder and Meridian Road.

To learn more about other widening plans in the corridor and sign up for updates, visit itdprojects.org/chindenwest.

Reconstruction of Idaho Highway 13 east of Grangeville begins May 3

Smoky horizon in ID-13

Idaho Highway 13 east of Grangeville will undergo construction this summer. Work will resurface the highway, replace drains and address soft spots.

Repairs to ID-13 from milepost 1 to 7—which does not include Harpster Grade—will start on May 3 and will last through mid-July.

Drivers should be prepared for delays up to thirty minutes while crews are on site. During daylight hours, a pilot car will guide one lane of traffic through the zone. The highway will open up to two lanes at night and on the weekends, but traffic will still be slowed by the gravel surface.

“Construction will be short but intense,” ITD Resident Engineer Joe Schacher said. “It’s desperately needed, so we were able to move up construction from 2022 to this year.”

Community members are invited to stop by an informal open house at Grangeville City Hall at 225 West North Street on Wednesday, May 5 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to learn more.

Poe Asphalt will complete the repairs for $3.3 million, with work inspected by Jacobs.

I-84 bridge repairs to begin next week in Gooding, Jerome, Minidoka and Cassia counties

Repairs to structures along I-84 in South-central Idaho are expected to begin Monday, April 26.

Over the coming months, ITD will resurface thirteen bridges and nine overpasses, as well as perform other minor maintenance activities, to keep them in service longer. For most bridges, traffic will be reduced to one lane. As work shifts from one bridge to another, traffic patterns will also change. Drivers should expect reduced speeds throughout the area and watch for crews during working hours.

Two overpasses in Minidoka County will be completely closed during construction.

“The overpasses at 500 West and Meridian Road will be closed for about three weeks, but not at the same time,” ITD project manager Bruce Christensen said. “These detours are expected in late May and mid-June.”

As those closures approach, another release will be sent.

Closing the two overpasses will allow crews to complete work sooner, reducing project costs and lessening the overall impacts to travelers.

Construction on all bridges is expected to be finished by October of this year. The general contractor is Cannon Builders.

Subcommittee for the Idaho Transportation Board to review reclassification of Idaho County highways on Thursday

Seven Mile Canyon on Idaho Highway 162

The Idaho Transportation Board 129,000 Pound Route Subcommittee will meet Thursday, April 22 to review an application to reclassify the weight limits of several highways in Idaho County. After review, the subcommittee could provide a recommendation to the Idaho Transportation Board, which will make a final decision on the reclassification, or require further analysis by the department.

The subcommittee will convene at 12:15 p.m. PT / 1:15 p.m. MT in Jerome to discuss engineering analysis completed by department staff and comments received during the public hearing process.

The meeting will be held at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game office at 324 South 417 East, but members of the public may participate remotely via instructions located on the agenda. Since this meeting will be held after the Idaho Transportation Board meeting, participants should be prepared for any scheduling changes.

Public comments were sought in March and April on the application submitted by KBC Trucking to increase the limits on the following highways from 105,500 pounds to 129,000 pounds:

  • Idaho Highway 13 from the KBC Trucking yard at milepost 24.4 to its intersection of US-12 outside of Kooskia
  • US-12 from Kooskia to Kamiah
  • Idaho Highway 162 from Kamiah to its intersection with Old Highway 7

The applicant has also requested the use of Old Highway 7 from its intersections with ID-162 and US-95. This route is not being evaluated by ITD as it is under the jurisdiction of the Greencreek Highway District, Union Independent Highway District and Grangeville Highway District.

No further public comment will be taken at the subcommittee meeting.

The application, analysis by ITD and FAQs about 129,000-pound loads are available at itd.idaho.gov/freight.

A final decision by the Idaho Transportation Board could be made as early as the next regular board meeting on May 19.

“Trucker Matt” helps keep I-90 clean as spring reveals trash covered by winter snows

A long-haul driver who goes by the name “Trucker Matt” has taken it upon himself to clean a stretch of Interstate 90 when his travels take him daily on the heavily traveled north Idaho freeway linking Idaho to Montana and Washington State.

Matthew Culver hauls cedar bark from Naples, Idaho to Superior, Montana. He has been driving truck since retiring from the Marine Corps in 1999. He has owned his own truck, and his own company, since 2007.

Culver has driven the route daily, year-round, for about 4.5 years, and officially signed on with ITD’s Adopt-A-Highway litter pickup program about two years ago. Since then he has picked up about 90 bags of litter from the stretch of freeway.

“I not only clean up Fourth of July Summit, but all over on the route in any wide spot where a truck can safely park,” Culver said. “Fourth of July Pass is my primary objective since it seems to get the most trash, but I also clean up the Idaho Port of Entry roadside temporary inspection location in East Hope at Denton Slough and occasionally Lookout Pass Summit.” He said he and his wife will often bring back a bag of trash from wherever their hiking and fishing adventures take them.

“Wherever Matt goes and whatever he does, he continually looks for ways to make a positive difference,” D1 Volunteer Services Coordinator Robin Karsann said.

Culver’s time in the military made him appreciate cleanliness.

“Having served 25 years in the Marine Corps, I never like seeing an unsightly area with trash strew about everywhere. Besides, Idaho and Montana are just too beautiful to see trash along the road.”

He said it is very rewarding when he sees a clean stretch of highway where litter once was.

“I get dejected when I see trash on the roadside, but when I take action, I feel that I’ve made a positive difference in keeping roads clean and pleasing to the eye.”

Culver said he would love to see more people get involved in keeping our roads clear of debris.

“You can make it a spring and fall event for your business or family. It’s great advertisement for your business and you can honor and memorialize a lost loved one or veteran.”

“I urge others to get involved by contacting your local Idaho DOT office and sign up. The Idaho Transportation Department will provide trash bags and safety vests. Not only have I benefited in getting exercise by picking up trash, and experienced the rewarding feeling of making a difference, I have also collected thousands of dollars in excellent-condition tire chains, bungee cords, hand tools, and more all left abandoned by truckers. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

Culver Enterprises is one of the 242 organizations in District 1 that participate in the Adopt-a-Highway program. Some have made it a long-term commitment.

“What amazes me about being a Volunteer Services Coordinator for District 1 is to see the faithfulness and longevity of participation our volunteers show year after year,” said Karsann. “Several groups have been participants for more than 20 years.”

Here’s the list of Adopt-a-Highway coordinators around the state:

District 1

Robin Karsann

600 W. Prairie Dr.

Coeur d’Alene  83815-8764

Phone: 208 772-1200

Counties: Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone

 

District 2

Shane Niemela

PO Box 837

Lewiston, ID  83501-0837

Phone: 208 799-4239

Counties: Clearwater, Idaho, Latah, Lewis and Nez Perce

 

District 3

Judi Conner

PO Box 7129

Boise, ID  83707-1129

Phone: 208 334-8094

Counties: Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley and Washington

 

District 4

Wendy Robinson

126 S. Date Street

Shoshone, ID  83352

Phone: 208 886-7831

Counties: Blaine, Camas, Cassia, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka and Twin Falls.

 

District 5

Sharon Short

PO Box 4700

Pocatello, ID  83205-4700

Phone: 208 239-3300

Counties: Bannock, Bear Lake, Bingham, Caribou, Franklin, Oneida and Power

 

District 6

Erika Turner

PO Box 97

Rigby, ID 83442-0097

Phone: 208 745-5612

Counties: Bonneville, Butte, Clark, Fremont, Custer, Jefferson, Lemhi, Madison and Teton

Connect to Disconnect during Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) is joining other state highway safety offices and law enforcement agencies across the country to keep our communities safe with engaged driving. This is part of a nationwide effort called Connect to Disconnect.

Thursday, April 8 officers across the country will commit a four-hour shift to targeting distracted driving. In addition, April 19 – 30, more than 60 law enforcement agencies throughout Idaho will work with OHS to dedicate patrols to enforcing Idaho’s new hands-free law.

“April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and we urge Idahoans to join us by agreeing to disconnect from your phone, put it away while you are behind the wheel, and drive engaged,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson.

According to OHS data, between 2015 and 2019 there were more than 25,000 distracted driving crashes in Idaho killing 237 people. Nationally, distracted driving was a factor in nine percent of all traffic fatalities in 2019 – in Idaho, it was 16 percent.

To help improve safety on our roads, the Idaho legislature passed the hands-free law last year, banning the use of handheld electronic devices while driving – even while temporarily stopped at a red light or stop sign. Officers spent the second half of 2020 educating drivers about the new law and in January they began issuing citations.

“Inattentive driving is illegal and dangerous,” Tomlinson said. “If you need to use your phone’s GPS, enter the address in before you start driving. Check out Bluetooth options for your car so you can talk hands-free, and if you have to read or send a text, pull over and park the car. Choose to leave the distractions behind, stay focused on the road, and drive engaged so you can help save lives.”

For more information visit shift-idaho.org.

Bridge inspection to take place next week on Interstate 84 near Jerome

Image of ITD under-bridge inspection truck

Drivers can expect additional lane restrictions near Jerome next week as crews from the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) perform a routine bridge inspection on Interstate 84.

On April 15 crews will inspect the bridge located near milepost 163. They will examine the bridge deck and deploy ITD’s under-bridge inspection truck from the eastbound lanes of I-84 and from the county road on the north side of the interstate.

Traffic will be reduced to one lane while inspections are underway. Work is expected to take place from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“We will begin with a left-lane closure in the I-84 eastbound lanes and then alternate to a right-lane closure as our inspection progresses,” said ITD Bridge Inspector Amy Bower. “These lane restrictions are separate from the nearby work zone between Jerome and Twin Falls, so it’s important that drivers are attentive when traveling on this section of I-84.”

Drivers are urged to exercise caution near the work zones and watch for crew members and equipment. ITD appreciates the patience and cooperation of those driving through the area.

Rock Creek bridge work benefiting wildlife and economy wins ACEC Engineering Award

The replacement of the US-20 culvert at Rock Creek with a bridge and the resulting environmental and economic improvements recently won second place in the Engineering Excellence awards in the American Civil Engineers Council (ACEC) of Idaho annual awards, Water Resources Category in partnership with design firm Jacobs Engineering.

The project finished in December 2020. ITD was notified of the award on Jan. 14, 2021.

The bridge was recently constructed on US-20 in south-central Idaho where only a culvert previously existed. The multi-plate culvert at Rock Creek had reached the end of its useful life and was showing signs of compromise in the flowline. The decision to construct a new bridge to replace the culvert over Rock Creek also addressed other needs. First and foremost, the new bridge remedied the failing multi-plate culverts. The bridge also aided in safety by removing the steep roadway slope section, which had created erosion and maintenance challenge.

ITD was able to restore the streams to a more natural condition, which in turn should have a positive effect on the surrounding ecosystem. Building the bridge had less of an impact on the environment than replacing the existing multi-plate culvert. In addition, the new bridge will aid in restoring the habitat to allow unrestricted migration of wildlife and flow of the waterways. Establishing the stream channel under the new bridge helped restore the stream for habitat and encourage safe fish passage under the highway.

Allowing wildlife to pass under the highway also reduces the risk of possible accidents involving wildlife and motorists on the roadway. This section of US-20 has seen 64 vehicle-wildlife collisions over the last five years, which has a societal cost of approximately $2 million when you consider vehicle repair or replacement, medical bills, and raised insurance rates.

This was one of ITD’s first projects incorporating Fabric Encapsulated Soil Lifts (FESL) into a design, an innovative way to efficiently ensure streambank stability during multiple water levels. The FESL allowed ITD to create a stable bank while still promoting vegetative growth.

The project has already improved the environment while enhancing the safety and the natural beauty of the project area. Just a few months after construction, fish were seen swimming upstream to spawn, while several deer (and a moose) were seen traveling ong the channels under the bridges.

The economic impact of the work is also significant, as US-20 is one of the longest routes connecting east and west Idaho in support of oversized commercial traffic

Rockslide on ID-55 near Smiths Ferry

Rocks Hit highway

Final Update: 9:45 a.m. 4/9/2021

Debrief of slide and slope stability

In the wake of a rockslide on March 15 along Idaho State Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry, the Idaho Transportation Department has determined the slide was a localized event and, after additional mitigation, the greater hillside remains stable.

The slide occurred within a work zone where crews are cutting into the adjacent hillside to create extra room for ID-55 and enhance the overall safety of the road. The space will be used to reduce the severity of curves, construct wider shoulders, and add guardrail and pullouts.

Water from melting snow seeped into and destabilized the hillside at a cut crews created last fall. To prevent future localized slides, ITD is enhancing the reinforcement of the hillside as cuts are created. The Department has hired geotechnical experts to aid in this effort. This approach is expected to improve reliability of the hillside’s stability and the overall efficiency of the blasting work.

“Safety is the top priority of the Idaho Transportation Department. We are thankful no one was hurt during the rockslide activity on State Highway 55 last month,” said District 3 Administrator Caleb Lakey. “Hillsides and slopes become more unstable when doing work of this nature. We expect rock fall as a part of these projects. We had precautions in place to protect the traveling public in case of any slide activity and are doubling down on those precautions.”

ID-55 is now open to a single lane of alternating one-way traffic. Travelers should plan for a fifteen-minute delay at the project location. From now until late May, there will be daily closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to allow blasting and debris removal activity.

“I appreciate the public’s patience as we responded to this rockslide,” said Lakey. “We did not take the reduction of service on this critical corridor lightly. It’s a good reminder to drive attentive and be on the lookout for rocks on the roadway during the springtime.”

The project is anticipated to continue through Fall 2022. For more information, visit ITDprojects.org/id55smithsferry/

update #12: 6:00 a.m. 4/2/2021

Spring Construction Schedule Resumes Today!

ID-55 is open to one lane of alternating traffic between Smiths Ferry and Rainbow Bridge starting at 8 a.m. today. Drivers can expect full road closures Monday-Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and one-way alternating traffic with a 15-minute delay when the road is not closed.

To sign up for email updates and text alerts, visit itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry.

update #11: 3:50 p.m. 3/31/2021

Idaho Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry will reopen to the public beginning at 8 a.m. Friday morning to a one-lane alternating traffic configuration. The highway will remain in this configuration except for regular closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. as construction crews blast. Until Friday, the highway will remain closed, with an open window tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We know how important it is to have the highway open for this weekend’s traffic,” said Caleb Lakey, ITD District 3 Engineer. “The response to the March 15 rock slide has been excellent, with many experts converging to address the problem quickly. I appreciate the public’s patience during this reduction in highway service.”

Sunday’s blasting work successfully mitigated travel risk in the area of the rockslide on ID-55 and experts feel confident that the hillside is now stable for safe, long-term travel through the corridor. Crews will finish removing the blast debris and cleaning up the area on Thursday.

From April 2 through mid-May, the road will be closed Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and open to one lane of alternating traffic with a 15-minute delay outside of the closure hours. For more information about the ID-55 Smiths Ferry Project, please visit itdprojects.org/projects/id55smithsferry/

update #10: 2:00 p.m. 3/29/2021

Over the weekend, Idaho Transportation Department contractors successfully removed an undercut outcropping of rock that remained from a rockslide near Smiths Ferry on March 15, completing a critical safety intervention to allow a return to normal work.

Rock blasting

The outcropping presented a considerable safety hazard to the public using Idaho Highway 55 below. ITD brought in a nationally-recognized team of geotechnical engineers to assess the situation and develop a blasting plan to remove the remaining material. The blast occurred Sunday at 4 p.m. after the road was closed for the day.

“It was a picture-perfect blast,” said ITD Project Manager Alex Deduck. “We needed to remove roughly 1500 tons of material sitting 30-50 feet above the roadway. The narrow landing area made this incredibly difficult, but the team did a great job.”

The blast required several days of preparation. A survey crew scaled across the rock face to determine drilling locations. Then, a blasting plan was drawn up. On Saturday, an excavator and drilling machine were flown above the rock face to drill holes and set charges.

“The use of a helicopter was cheaper and faster for us,” said Deduck. “The terrain here is steep and covered in trees. It would have taken several days to pioneer a path to the slide location.”

The blast area is now under a 48-hour observation period to watch for additional movement. Following that, the blasted material will be removed. The road will remain closed except from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day, when a single lane of alternating traffic will be allowed. ITD encourages motorists to us U.S. 95 as an alternate route.

ITD will provide another update this Wednesday evening.

update #9: 8:30 a.m. 3/26/2021

Idaho Highway 55 continues to be open daily to one lane of alternating traffic between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Travelers can expect a 15-minute delay during this time and road closures outside of these hours.

The current traffic restrictions are expected to last through early April as crews work to remove the remaining rock outcropping. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead, visit Idaho 511, and pay close attention to the message boards on ID-55.

Update #8: 2:00 p.m. 3/23/2021

Geotechnical crew scaling the rockface
Geo-technical crew scaling the rock face Monday

Starting Wednesday, March 24, Idaho Highway 55 will have daily openings to one lane of alternating traffic from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The road will be closed outside these hours. Travelers can expect at least 15 minute delays during this time. Crews will be actively monitoring the rock outcropping and are prepared to close the road immediately if weather or hillside conditions change. ITD recommends travelers, especially large vehicles, RVs, and trucks pulling trailers, still use U.S. 95 as the alternate route.

“We want to thank the public for their patience as we respond to this rock slide,” said Caleb Lakey, ITD District Engineer. “Our ITD personnel and contractor crews have worked nights and weekends to open the road and protect the public. While this is a major milestone, we recognize that there is still significant effort required to resolve this issue.”

ITD is working alongside national slide experts and finalizing plans to safely remove the remaining rock outcropping, which will require additional full road closures. These closures will likely begin in the next seven days. More information about the closures will be provided as it is available. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead, visit Idaho 511, and pay close attention to the message boards on ID-55.

Update #7: 5:30 p.m. 3/21/2021

landslide next to highway with survey crew
A crew surveys the slide area on ID-55

ITD has been monitoring the rock slide throughout the weekend and determined that conditions continue to be unsafe in the area, and Idaho Highway 55 will remain closed to traffic.

“At this point, our ITD team can’t confidently open the road with the existing risks to the traveling public and crews,” said Caleb Lakey, ITD District Engineer. “Recent weather conditions paired with the weakened hillside, rock and soil from the slide has created a situation that requires further considerations before we can allow cars through. We know ID-55 is an important travel corridor in Idaho and we are working hard to open the road safely.”

Drivers are advised to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route. The next update will be provided in the afternoon on Tuesday, March 23.

Update #6: 1:50 p.m. 3/18/2021

A national rock slide expert has evaluated the slide that took place March 15 on Idaho Highway 55 and determined that the road should remain closed at least through Sunday, March 21 for safety reasons. ITD is working diligently to safely open the road to traffic and will monitor conditions through the weekend during the forecasted storms.  Working with experts, ITD will review conditions in advance of next week and provide another update during the afternoon on Sunday, March 21, so travelers can make appropriate travel plans.

“Safety of the traveling public, as well as the crews who are on site, is our top priority,” said Jason Brinkman, ITD District 3 Engineering Manager. “These decisions are not taken lightly. We understand that this road closure is not ideal, and are working extensively to reopen the road as soon as safely feasible.”

ITD continues to advise motorists to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route.

Panoramic photo of the slide, March 17th, 2021

update #5: 1:00 p.m. 3/17/2021

Idaho Highway 55 will remain closed today, through tomorrow. The Department continues to advise motorists to use U.S. 95 as an alternate route.

ITD crews monitoring the slide have seen continued movement of the hillside. The Department has called in nationwide experts to better assess the situation. These experts have assisted ITD in the past with the 2020 slide on U.S. 95 near Riggins. They will be on site tomorrow where we will asses how to proceed.

ITD will provide another update midday Thursday, March 18th.

update #4: 10:00 p.m. 3/16/2021

ID-55 near Smiths Ferry will remain closed due to the condition of the adjacent hillside. Safety is the top priority as crews continue to investigate the situation and work to reopen the road. Drivers shoulduse U.S. 95 as an alternate route. A status update will be provided midday Wednesday, March 17.

Update #3: 12:45 p.m. 3/16/2021

Crews are removing debris from the rockslide and working to open a single lane for travel. At this time, the closure will be extended beyond 2:00 p.m. today. Conditions are variable and no estimate can be given if the highway will open today or tomorrow. Motorists are encouraged to consider an alternate route.

Geotechnical engineers have conducted a preliminary assessment and believe there is risk more rocks may slide. Current work is focused on creating protection for at least a single travel lane on the highway from additional rockfall.

ITD has coordinated with emergency service providers to ensure critical services remain available for the community.

UPDATE #2: 11:25 A.m. 3/16/2021

Photo Gallery of slide added

update #1: 10:40 A.m. 3/16/2021

Idaho Highway 55 will remain closed while crews address the rockslide. The current plan is to follow closure protocols established for the highway project during a blasting event, which requires a complete closure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The slide removed rock and earth from beneath a spire on the hillside. The stability of that spire is uncertain and the area is considered dangerous. Motorists planning to travel between Valley County and Boise County should consider alternate routes.

Another update will be provided this afternoon.

Original post: 9:30 a.m. 3/16/2021

Late in the night on March 15th, a rockslide hit Idaho Highway 55 near Smiths Ferry, closing the highway. This is located within the work zone for the Smiths Ferry to Rainbow Bridge highway improvement project. However, at this time, there is no indication the work there directly triggered the slide.

There are no known injuries at this time. An excavator being used for the project did get hit.

Geotechnical experts are evaluating the situation. Given early observations at first light, the situation remains dangerous and the highway will remain closed.

“The rock and earth in this area is historically unstable,” said project manager Alex Deduck. “We saw a significant slide in 2019 just south of here. Last night’s slide is another example why our project is so important.”

The Smiths Ferry to Rainbow Bridge project will remove thousands of tons of rock and earth from the adjacent hillside to widen the highway, create rock catchment ditches, and reduce the severity of curves. Information about the project, as well as resources to sign up for email and text alerts, can be found at itdprojects.org/id55smithsferry/.

More information will be posted on this blog post as the situation develops.

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

Seven Mile Canyon on Idaho Highway 162

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

KBC Trucking of Kooskia submitted an application to ITD earlier this month requesting the reclassification of the following routes to allow for more efficient transport of logs and lumber to Boise Valley:

  • Idaho Highway 13 from the KBC Trucking yard at milepost 24.4 to its intersection of US-12 outside of Kooskia
  • US-12 from Kooskia to Kamiah
  • Idaho Highway 162 from Kamiah to its intersection with Old Highway 7

The applicant has also requested the use of Old Highway 7 from its intersections with ID-162 and US-95. This route is not being evaluated by ITD as it is under the jurisdiction of the Greencreek Highway District, Union Independent Highway District and Grangeville Highway District.

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

A similar application was filed by Arlo Lott of Montana in 2015 but included all of ID-13 from Kooskia to Grangeville. After engineering analysis deemed the proposal would not negatively affect safety or pavement conditions, a public hearing was held and received significant public comment. The applicant later withdrew his request.

“While similar to an earlier application, the latest request excludes much of ID-13, which was the most controversial segment,” said Jan Vassar, the Idaho Transportation Board Member representing North Central Idaho. “Staff are approaching this proposal with fresh eyes, and as before, comments received will influence the decision regarding reclassification of the routes.”

The application, analysis by ITD and FAQs about 129,000-pound loads are available at itd.idaho.gov/freight. Comments are being sought until April 12 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 May.