Idaho DMV encourages customers to “skip the line, go online,” for many DMV transactions

The Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles continues to encourage customers to go online, to take care of many DMV services—that don’t require a trip to an actual office. The service is designed to reduce wait times and in-person gatherings due, in part, to COVID-19 social distancing protocols in county DMV offices.

“With the extension to some expiring vehicle registrations and driver’s licenses ending January 31, now more than ever, skip the line and go online to complete your transaction,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez.

Some online services that can be completed safely, 24 hours a day at include:
• Renewing vehicle registration/license plates
• Checking and adding insurance policy information
• Ordering personalized plates
• Renewing a driver’s license or ID
• Purchasing a replacement license

There are some exceptions, including those for drivers who want to get a Star Card—Idaho’s Real ID. A full list of services that can be completed online is available at

County DMV office hours vary statewide and are determined by county sheriffs and assessors. To contact your local office, business hours and phone numbers can be found at

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

Centerline photo of ID-9 south of Harvard

The Idaho Transportation Board 129,000-pound subcommittee will meet Thursday to review an application to reclassify the weight limits of several highways in Latah 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 virtually at 2:15 p.m. PT / 3:15 p.m. MT to discuss engineering analysis completed by department staff and comments received during the public hearing process.

Members of the public may access the meeting via instructions located on the agenda. Since this meeting will be held after the Idaho Transportation Board meeting, participants should be prepared for any resulting delays.

Public comments were sought in December on the application submitted by Bennett Lumber Products to increase the limits on the following highways from 105,500 pounds to 129,000 pounds:

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

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

Download a photo of ID-9.

The application, analysis by ITD and FAQs about 129,000-pound loads are available at

A final decision by the Idaho Transportation Board could be made as early as the next regular board meeting on February 18.

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

Image of ID-75 in Blaine County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• recorded by calling (855) 785-2499
• via the project website:
• emailed to
• mailed to:
Idaho Transportation Department
Attn: Jessica Williams
216 South Date Street
Shoshone, ID 83352

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

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

Construction on US-95 north of CDA resumes for a final season

Photo of the signal at US-95 and Garwood Road

Due to warmer than average temperatures, construction of the Garwood Road overpass over US-95 is scheduled to begin Tuesday rather than later in the spring as part of a three-year project to improve safety north of Coeur d’Alene.

Work this season will include removing the existing signal, building an overpass and connecting the new overpass to the frontage road to the west. This is the final phase of improvements to this section of US-95, with construction expected to wrap up by fall 2021.

Traffic on Garwood Road will be detoured south to access US-95 at the new interchange at Idaho Highway 53 via the Old Highway 95 and Pope Road frontage roads, and US-95 traffic will no longer be able to directly access Garwood Road during and after construction. Bicyclists and pedestrians using the path to the east of US-95 will be detoured through the construction zone via Pope Road throughout construction.

Next week only, US-95 motorists may experience short delays for the removal of the traffic signal.

Work in the corridor began in July 2019, and since then, crews have installed a temporary signal at ID-53 and Ramsey Road, widened and realigned ID-53 and replaced the bridge over the railroad. Government Way, signed as Pope Road, was extended north of
ID-53 to serve as a frontage road. The new interchange at US-95 and Idaho Highway 53 opened in November 2020 and is the first of its kind in North Idaho. Traffic movements in this Single Point Urban Interchange (SPUI) are now centralized into one signal to improve efficiency.

When all construction is complete, US-95 will be safer and more efficient with new frontage roads, a new interchange, a new overpass, and a greater speed limit of 70 mph north of Boekel Road. With the two signals removed from US-95, the last signal heading north from Coeur d’Alene to Sandpoint will be at Lancaster Road.

Visit to learn more and sign up for email updates.

Construction to occur this winter on two US-26 canal structures in Gooding County

Map of two canal structures in Gooding County

This winter, construction will start on two different canal structures on US-26 in Gooding County.

Work will first begin in early January to replace the canal structure near milepost 140 east of Bliss. Having reached its design life, the old structure will be replaced with a concrete box culvert.

Rehabilitation on a second canal structure, located near milepost 150 in Gooding, is expected to begin in February. During construction, the surface will be redone, bridge joints will be replaced and the railing will be repainted.

Drivers can expect temporary signals in both work zones to control one-way, alternating traffic with an expected wait time of two to three minutes. Construction in Gooding will require the temporary closure of the US-26 approach from California Street for a portion of the project. Signs will be in place to alert motorists.

“The majority of work on these structures must be completed while the canal is dry, which is why these projects typically take place during the winter months,” Project Manager Tom Logan said. “We expect both of these projects to be complete in April.”

Cannon Builders of Blackfoot is the primary contractor for both projects.

Make Idaho hands-free in 2021

cell phone is hands free mode while driving

This week marks the end of what has been a memorable year for all Idahoans. While 2020 has taught us many new terms like “mask up” and “social distancing” there is one phrase we’d like you to keep in mind for 2021 “hands-free Idaho.”    

That’s because beginning Jan. 1, police across Idaho will begin issuing citations for drivers using a handheld device. The law took effect in July of this year after passing through the Idaho legislature in the spring 

This change will affect drivers across Idaho. Here are three things you need to know about the changes: 

Police have been enforcing the law for nearly six months now 

Yes, police will begin to issue citations on Jan1, but they have been enforcing the new law since July. Police have been able to enforce the law since the beginning by stopping distracted drivers. However, until now, violators who have been stopped were let off with a warning. Beginning Jan. 1, violators can be issued a fine starting at $75 and going as high as $300 for multiple offenses during a three year period. 

This law replaces any local hands-free ordinances 

Over the last several years, a patchwork of cities and counties have passed hands-free driving ordinances at the local level. This caused some confusion for drivers as they went from one jurisdiction to the next. Idaho’s hands-free law preempts all local ordinances meaning no matter where you drive in Idaho, the expectation is for you to be hands-free. 

The law even applies at stop signs and traffic signals 

This new law requires drivers to put away electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. This includes while temporarily stopped at a traffic signal or a stop sign.  

Hands-free driving is not risk-free driving. Drivers will still have to contend with other forms of distractions, but putting the phone away will help motorists be better prepared for whatever lies ahead on the road. 

ITD wins COMPASS Leadership in Motion Award

Tow Truck

A pilot program on I-84 construction zones designed to increase efficient movement of people and commerce won a leadership award for enhancing safety through a key corridor.

The Community Planning Association of Southwest Idaho (COMPASS) selected the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) Safety Patrols Program on I-84 as the winner for the “Leadership in Government, Canyon County” category for their annual Leadership in Motion awards.

The Safety Patrols pilot program was an idea introduced by ITD Emergency Management Planner Neal Murphy after seeing similar programs in other states. Murphy pitched the program to GARVEE Managers Amy Schroeder and Mark Campbell as a way to increase safety for emergency responders, construction workers, and the traveling public while ensuring traffic was able to flow at a steady pace.

“Mark and I coordinated with ITD Contracting Services to build a contract and worked through numerous issues before getting it to the Tow Association.” Murphy explained. “We also coordinated operations with Idaho State Police, ISP dispatch, and State Communications ensure ITD had a sound product to serve the traveling public. It was a team effort to make this happen and hopefully it will be a model for future Idaho construction projects in large cities.”

The service operates during weekday peak hours and as needed for special occasions such as traffic shifts or closures, holidays and public events. The services include assisting with breakdowns, accidents and law enforcement traffic assistance. Craig Parker is the primary contractor operating the tow. His goal is to remove the vehicle and occupants from the work zone and take them to a safe location off the interstate to enhance their safety while reducing traffic delays.

From the time the service began in December 2019 through August 2020, the Safety Service Patrol has completed 154 assists/tows. This includes 81 breakdowns, 44 accidents, and 29 law enforcement assists with zero serious injuries or stuck-by events.

In addition, ISP’s increased presence in this high priority construction corridor has resulted in an improvement in officer response times in the work zone. ISP has made 1,613 contacts and traveled 17,568 miles since the beginning of construction.

ITD was commended for providing prompt and safe response times to stranded motorists, reducing congestion and increasing reliability of travel times.

The COMPASS Leadership in Motion Awards recognize businesses, individuals, and projects that demonstrate leadership in supporting the Treasure Valley’s regional long-range transportation plan. Last year, ITD District 3 Administrator Caleb Lakey received an award for the “Leadership in Practice, Professional” category.

Recipients of LIM award
L to R: Schroeder, Murphy, Campbell, Parker

ITD crews make emergency repairs to ID-45 as large number of potholes form

Four men on highway with jackhammers

Idaho Transportation Department crews are completing emergency repairs to a section of Idaho Highway 45 after numerous potholes formed on the roadway.

Potholes continue to form between Deer Flat Road and Melba Road, an eight-mile stretch of ID-45. The damage is caused by water seeping under the surface, freezing – which pushes the pavement up – and thawing, leaving a void.

track hoe on highway
Crews excavate damaged pavement in preparation for a cold patch

The voided pavement then collapses under the weight of traffic.

The emergency repairs involve removing asphalt and debris from the hole, cutting out the damaged pavement, and filling the hole with an asphalt material designed for use during cold temperatures. Crews will close one lane of ID-45, controlling traffic with flaggers. Motorists should drive engaged and anticipate delays of no more than 15 minutes. Repair work is expected to take up to two or three days.

“We’ve been patching this section of highway to keep it together,” said Camilo Serrano, the ITD Maintenance Foreman for the area. “With the rain and snow we got, and temperatures dropping then warming up again, we’re seeing a lot of potholes forming. I’m hoping these patches will stick through the winter until we can come back in the spring with better repairs.”

This cold patch material is not as strong as typical asphalt and will only work for a short time. Normal asphalt is unavailable currently as no nearby asphalt mixing plant is operational this time of year due to seasonal conditions. ITD is developing a plan to complete longer-lasting repairs in the spring. The fix will be similar to the operation in 2017 to repair I-84 after many potholes formed during that year’s severe winter.

The Department has previously budgeted for major rehabilitation of the pavement from the Junction of ID-78 to Deer Flat Road, scheduled for 2025. The springtime repairs will be designed with the intent to keep the roadway in an acceptable condition until that time.

New weather station to forecast avalanche hazard on US-12

An avalanche hasn’t reached US-12 east of Kooskia since 2008, but another weather station placed in the corridor this fall will help staff experts better forecast when the next one could happen.

“You can’t just come up with a cookbook formula for avalanches,” said Bill Nicholson, the leader of ITD’s Avalanche Crew that was formed in 2000. “There are infinite number of variables. We evaluate the strength of the snow that’s on the ground and then evaluate the incoming stressors like rain, wind, snow and temperature fluctuations.”

The new station, placed at 3,639 feet, will collect information on such stressors every hour to be analyzed by the team in Lowman. The team mainly spends their time monitoring Idaho Highway 21 between Lowman and Stanley, which is nationally ranked as one of the most avalanche-prone highways and sees 20 to 50 avalanches reach the pavement each year.

Over the last decade US-12 has been closed fewer than ten times due to a considerable hazard and has a return interval of every five or ten years.

“That’s a hard number to understand,” Nicholson said. “There’s no guarantee that you will have an avalanche in that time frame. You could have two avalanches in one year, or you could have no avalanches for several years.”

Still Nicholson’s team will visit the region to maintain the stations at Powell and Bald Mountain and travel to the pass to be on standby during extreme weather events.

The steep slopes from milepost 125 to 138 are the most concerning, with gates installed at the zone’s edges. Each fall Nicholson leads training on avalanche beacons and protocol for closing the highway for Foreman Mark Schuster and his crew.

“Every operator wears a beacon that transmits his or her location while on duty,” Schuster said. “In the event that an employee gets caught in an avalanche, others will be able to use their own beacons to find them, even buried in 50 feet of snow.”

With data from the weather stations—and the one that will be installed next year at Castle Butte—experts aim to better forecast when it is time to close the highway.

ID-21 from Grandjean to Banner Summit to close tonight due to avalanche risk

highway sign for avalanche risk

The Idaho Transportation Department will be closing Idaho Highway 21 from Grandjean to Banner Summit tonight due to a high avalanche risk.

A weather system bringing rain and snow is likely to trigger avalanches in this section of highway. The anticipated closure will begin at 6 p.m. on December 20. However, actual weather impacts may require an earlier closure. Motorists needing to use the roadway are advised to make the trip immediately or plan to use alternate routes.

The alternate route between the Treasure Valley and Stanley area is to travel east on I-84, exit in Mountain Home at Exit 95 to U.S. 20, then head north on Idaho Highway 75.

The ITD Avalanche Crew monitors the snowpack along this section of highway in order to forecast the risk of avalanches large enough to reach the roadway. This practice allows the Department to keep the highway open during the winter months with a reasonable confidence of safety for the traveling public. Previously, the Department closed this section of highway after the first avalanches hit the road.

The Avalanche Crew will continue to monitor the snowpack as a snowstorm hits the area and after. The highway will reopen when the snowpack has stabilized and the risk of active avalanches is reduced. Updates on closures and openings will be posted on 511. Future closures will be announced on 511 and ITD’s Twitter account.

There are sixty regular avalanche paths in this 11-mile stretch of ID-21. Avalanches can be triggered without warning. For this reason, there is no parking or stopping within this section of road during the winter.

Below is a gallery of activities the Avalanche Crew performs during the winter.