Open house in Bonners Ferry Dec. 14 will explain upcoming changes to US-95

US-95 will be improved from the Kootenai River Bridge to Alderson Lane.

COEUR d’ALENE–The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) invites the public to an open house on Thursday (Dec. 14) to learn about a project to improve safety on US-95 through Bonners Ferry.

The open house will be held at Boundary County Middle School from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The open house will begin with a brief presentation on the key aspects of the project. Following the presentation, ITD staff will be available to answer any questions, project manager Ben Ward said.

“This project will improve safety for the many users of US-95 by providing improved pedestrian facilities, reducing the number of approaches to the highway, and controlling snow and water drainage better,” Ward said.

The project will be built in two phases at an estimated construction cost of $9.4 million. ITD contractors will be required to keep one lane of US-95 open in each direction during the day with the option to reduce the highway to one lane at night. Access to businesses along the highway will remain open during construction, Ward said.

The first phase of the project includes improvements to the South Hill to be constructed in 2018, and the second phase includes improvements on US-95 from Alderson Lane to Madison Street to be constructed in 2019.

The project will reduce US-95 to two lanes on the South Hill, allowing for the designation of acceleration lanes in both directions near Ash Street to make turns onto the highway easier, especially for trucks turning left to go up the hill. These acceleration lanes can also be used to reroute traffic and avoid delays in the event of stalled rigs or crashes on the South Hill, said Dan Budd, an ITD designer for the project.

The new merging point for southbound traffic will be moved north from the Madison Street intersection to the Kootenai Street intersection. A protected crosswalk will be placed just south of the Madison Street intersection to provide safer crossing for children going to the city’s swimming pool. Getting traffic into one lane before the Madison intersection will make it safer for the many pedestrians who will cross there, Budd said.

“We want drivers approaching the Madison intersection to be looking forward at the crosswalk, not looking back over their shoulder while trying to merge into one lane,” Budd said. “Pedestrians, often children, use that intersection to cross to the local swimming pool.”

The new crosswalk will be equipped with pedestrian-activated, high-intensity lights to bring drivers’ attention to the crosswalk and allow pedestrians to cross safely, Budd said.

As part of the first phase of the project, ITD contractors also will upgrade the streetlights on the South Hill to be more efficient, and the existing sidewalk will be expanded from 5 feet to 8 feet, Budd said.

Highway improvements from Alderson Lane to Madison Street include the creation of a consistent three-lane highway with wider shoulders to accommodate bicyclists and 6-foot sidewalks separated from the highway by a grass buffer, all illuminated by new lights.

The project will also remove the signal at Alderson Lane. ITD initially considered upgrading the signal due to its age, but further analysis determined that the signal was not warranted by the volume of vehicles using it, even during peak summer traffic, Ward said.

Those unable to attend the open house may view details by visiting the project website at http://arcg.is/P584v. The website also features general responses to comments received from three meetings held by ITD during the design process. Any additional questions about the project should be addressed to Ben Ward at (208) 772-1218 or Ben.Ward@itd.idaho.gov.

 

DMV offices statewide open today as department, vendor strive to resolve computer issues

The Idaho Transportation Department will open all Division of Motor Vehicles driver’s license offices throughout the state today (Monday, December 11).

During the weekend, ITD’s driver’s license vendor, Gemalto, added additional server capacity in an effort to resolve the computer issues.

“We hope this will allow us to find the root cause of the issues we have been experiencing for more than a week now,” said Idaho DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez.

Although this isn’t the permanent fix, this may provide relief while ITD and Gemalto identify the long- term solution. Gemalto’s senior technical staff are in Boise and will work with ITD technical and DMV business staff to do everything possible to find a resolution to the issues.

These computer issues do not reside at the counties, but rather with the ITD computer system.

“We understand the frustration of our county driver’s license partners and our customers. We appreciate their patience and collaboration as we work diligently to solve this problem,” said Gonzalez. “Please know this is not the level of service ITD strives to provide. We are equally as frustrated and are doing everything possible to get this issue resolved.”

ITD will issue additional news releases as information becomes available. Also, 6this blog post is also updated regularly and contains a running tally with all the updates the department is providing the public.

ITD computer system stabilizing as technicians address problems affecting driver’s license offices

All DMV Offices are Open

UPDATE: Tuesday, December 12 at 12:45 p.m.

Idaho Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) offices statewide running normally on Tuesday, December 12 as technicians continue to stabilize the computer system.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and our vendor, Gemalto, continue to work together to monitor the system and develop a final solution.

“We appreciate the patience from our partner’s at the county offices and our customers,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “It has made a big difference as we work diligently to fix the problem and determine to cause.”

Continue to check this blog for updates.

UPDATE: Monday, December 11 at 5:00 p.m.

Service throughout the day Monday went well, with minimum delays to processing. All driver’s licenses will be open for business tomorrow.

“We  feel like we are close to finalizing a solution that will take care of the week-long interruptions we have been experiencing,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez.

UPDATE: Monday, December 11 at 11:00 a.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) opened all county driver’s license offices Monday morning as troubleshooting continues to find the root cause of computer system issues.

ITD is working closely with its card vendor, Gemalto, to monitor the system. So far, transactions have been moving well. Given that a root cause has not yet been found, it is possible as more transactions occur the system will slow down. This has been a symptom of the computer issues.

Today, the department has identified several processes to isolate and test. Customers at the county offices may experience long wait times. ITD appreciates the public’s patience during this time.

“We are exploring all options at this time in order to fix the issue,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “This level of service is not up to our standards or the standards the citizens of Idaho expect. We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused to the public and out partners in the county offices.”

At this time, there is no estimate when the issues will be resolved.

UPDATE: Sunday, December 10 at 2:48 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department will open all Division of Motor Vehicles driver’s license offices throughout the state on Monday, December 11.

During the weekend ITD’s driver’s license vendor, Gemalto, added additional server capacity in an effort to resolve the computer issues.

“We hope this will allow us to find the root cause of the issues we have been experiencing for more than a week now,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez.

Although this isn’t the permanent fix, this may provide relief while ITD and Gemalto identify the long term solution. Gemalto’s senior technical staff are in Boise and will work with ITD technical and DMV business staff to do everything possible to find a resolution to our issues.

These computer issues do not reside at the counties. It is the ITD computer system.

“We understand the frustration of our county driver’s license partners and our customers. We appreciate their patience and collaboration as we work diligently to solve this problem,” said Gonzalez. “Please know this is not the level of service ITD strives to provide. We are equally as frustrated and are doing everything possible to get this issue resolved.”

Continue to check this blog for the latest updates and information.

 

UPDATE: Friday, December 8 at 3:32 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is allowing county driver’s license offices the option of closing Friday afternoon, effective immediately.

Due to continued computer issues, service at county offices has slowed. This has led more populous locations to experience long wait times. ITD, working hand-in-hand with its card issuing vendor Gemalto, is continuing to troubleshoot the problem. So far, a root cause has not yet been identified.

Following concerns for the safety of county staff members, ITD is allowing offices to close their doors. The department appreciates the public’s patience during this service disruption and deeply apologizes for the inconvenience.

The below counties have notified ITD they are closed for the remainder of business Friday. You can verify by contacting your county directly. Information here.

County offices closed:

Ada
Adams
Bear Lake
Canyon
Cassia
Freemont
Gem
Lemhi
Lewis
Lincoln
Nez Perce
Oneida
Power
Twin Falls
Washington

 

UPDATE: Friday, December 8 at 10:15 a.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department is continuing to investigate the root cause of computer system issues to driver’s license services. All county offices will have service, though long wait times are likely for more populous areas.

ITD has tried to isolate a number of functions to determine the root cause, but this has yet produced results. The service to counties works as expected until a high volume of transactions occur. At that time service dramatically slows, creating a backlog. This causes long wait times in counties processing many transactions.

These computer issues do not reside at the counties. It is the ITD computer system. The department continues to work with its card issuing vendor, Gemalto, and has brought in additional resources to work on this problem.

ITD recognizes and apologizes for the severe inconvenience this prolonged service disruption has caused to the public and county offices. All available resources are being expended to address this situation.

UPDATE: Thursday, December 7 at 5:00 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) continues to work around the clock to identify and correct issues facing driver’s license computer systems and is keeping county offices open with limited service.

ITD is working closely with its card issuing vendor, Gemalto, and bringing in additional resources to troubleshoot these issues. Several attempts to identify the root cause have proven unsuccessful and further efforts continue.

In order to search for the problem, transactions by the public must be processing. This requires county offices to continue operations. Service during this time may be intermittent and cause delays to customers.

UPDATE: Thursday, December 7 at 12:53 p.m.

ITD is allowing all driver’s license offices to open, including Grangeville. Service speeds have been intermittent throughout the morning. Additional resources have been brought in to troubleshoot the problem.

Technicians are implementing a fix this afternoon. This requires a suspension of service to the counties. The plan is not to close county offices while this fix is implemented.

Some counties may choose to close offices. Such a decision is not made by ITD. The public is urged to postpone visits to their county DMV to renew their license or conduct driver’s training, if possible. Those that visit should expect long wait times.

UPDATE: Wednesday, December 6 at 5:20 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will begin Thursday, December 7 with all county driver’s license offices open*, following computer issues that began Monday.

ITD was first able to open offices Wednesday around noon. Initial reports indicate interim fixes are stabilizing the system.

The department is still looking for a root cause to these issues and is advising citizens in heavily populated counties may experience long wait times. Technicians have worked around the clock to identify and fix the computer issues, and will continue to do so until a solution is found.

*Grangeville offices will be closed for a separate, connectivity issue.

UPDATE: Wednesday, December 6 at 12:30 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is opening all county driver’s license offices, following computer issues (except Grangeville).

ITD has determined the system is stable enough to allow all offices to operate, however investigation into the root cause of these issues continues. The public is still advised there will be delays at county DMV offices and it is encouraged to postpone a visit if possible.

The computer issues are contained to the ITD system, not county systems. While the root cause is still undetermined, technicians have discovered a high volume of transactions is causing process speeds to slow down dramatically.

ITD will limit the number of transactions each county can process to keep the system running while troubleshooting continues. This may lead to slower-than-normal transactions and delays for customers.

“We apologize to our county partners in the driver’s license offices and to the public for these computer problems,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “Our team has been working around the clock and will continue to expend all available resources to fix this issue.”

At this time, there is no estimate when the system will be restored to full functionality.

Update: Tuesday, Decmber 5 at 5:42 p.m.

The Idaho Transportation Deparment (ITD) continues to troubleshoot computer problems when issuing driver’s license services.

On Wednesday, ITD will begin the day with driver’s license offices in Ada, Bannock, Canyon, Kootenai, and Twin Falls counties open to the public. All other county driver’s license service offices will remain closed until contacted by ITD.

The five county locations will open in order to identify root causes and test solutions to these problems. Services at these locations are expected to still be slow. The public is urged to plan for delays and postpone a visit if possible.

All county motor vehicle services (titles & registration) will be open to the public and are unaffected by the current computer issues.

The department is utilizing all available technical resources and working closely with its license vendor, Gemalto, to create a fix for this situation. Additional information will be posted when available.

Posted Tuesday, December 5 at 11:21 a.m.

Due to problems with the state’s Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) computer system, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has closed driver’s licensing offices across Idaho with the exception of Ada and Canyon counties.

There is no estimate of when the offices will be reopened. Registration and titling services are still open across Idaho.

ITD technicians have not yet determined the root cause of the system errors. When business opened Tuesday morning, all systems were functioning. As more county DMV offices came on line across the state and increased the number of transactions, the system slowed down dramatically.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and ask for the public’s patience as we work towards finding a solution,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “ITD is devoting all available technology resources towards investigating the root of this problem. The department is working hand in hand with its driver’s license vendor, Gemalto, in this effort.”

The transportation department is requesting customers in Ada and Canyon counties to delay renewing their licenses today if possible. While the offices are open, there are long wait times. The two county offices are remaining open to allow the transportation department to test solutions before deploying statewide.

Interstate 84 lane closures between Karcher and Franklin will begin Dec. 4

Interstate 84 looking west from Franklin Blvd. Interchange

BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has scheduled overnight lane restrictions on Interstate 84 in Nampa next week (Dec. 4-8) to complete geotechnical tests for upcoming improvements to the Interstate. This geotechnical work is one of the first steps of designing substantial improvements to I-84 between the Karcher Interchange and Franklin Boulevard Interchange.

Weather permitting, one lane of east- and westbound I-84 will be closed between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. from Dec. 4 to Dec. 8.

ITD is planning to widen the interstate, redesign the Northside Interchange and replace the Karcher Overpass and bridges over the railroad and Mason Creek. Improvements are expected to improve safety, capacity and traffic flow in Canyon County for many years. Construction could begin as early as the fall of 2018.

For more information about the I-84, Franklin to Karcher project, visit the project webpage.

Construction underway to repair ID-3 near Kendrick damaged last spring by slide

ID-3 Landslide 2017

LEWISTON – Crews are stabilizing the slope by Idaho Highway 3 near Kendrick to prevent future landslides like the one that cracked the roadway last spring. That work is underway and is expected to continue through January 2018.

Knife River Corporation, the contractor for this $3.3-million project, began construction of a soil nail wall on the Bear Ridge Grade in late October. The soil nail wall will secure the area by installing a grid of steel bars, reinforced by a concrete retaining wall, that extends beyond the affected area of the slide into stable material in the hillside.

There are no impacts to traffic at this time near the construction site at milepost 15.7 but drivers are advised to reduce their speed to 35 mph as work is being performed on both sides of the highway.

In conjunction with the soil nail wall, the contractor will also replace a broken culvert underneath the road. The road will be reduced to one lane at that time.

“The soil nail wall, in addition to the new culvert, will greatly reduce the likelihood of another landslide by securing the slope,” said Riley Bender, Idaho Transportation Department project manager for the repairs.

ID-3 repairs are expected to be finished by the end of next August, including repaving 6.4 miles of the highway from the top of Bear Ridge Grade to Texas Ridge Road.

Public invited to hearing in CDA on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to discuss upcoming ID-41 changes

ID-41 Mullan to Prairie Public Meeting

COEUR d’ALENE—Project planners invite the public to attend a hearing on Tuesday (Nov. 28) to give their feedback about the conversion of Idaho Highway 41 into a divided four-lane highway from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue in Post Falls.

Held at the Coeur d’Alene office of the Idaho Transportation Department from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the hearing will give the public the opportunity to view exhibits and provide input on the project, ITD project manager Lee Bernardi said.

The project will improve the safety of the highway and meet future traffic demands for the area, Bernardi said.

The comment period for ID-41 improvements from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue will begin with the public hearing on Nov. 28 and close on Dec. 12. Those unable to attend the hearing can still comment by visiting the project website.

“This region is one of the fastest-growing in the nation right now,” Bernardi said. “State highway 41 will experience a significant growth in users. This project will address the traffic and safety needs of the anticipated growth.”

The route connects the developing cities of Post Falls and Rathdrum and serves as an alternative north-south route for US-95. Statistics show that crash severity and fatality rates for ID-41 are greater than the statewide average for similar highways, confirming the need to address both capacity and safety issues for the highway, Bernardi said.

ID-41 16th Ave to Prairie Ave Typical Section
The project also includes traffic signal upgrades at the intersections of 16th, Poleline and Prairie avenues with ID-41, as well as the installation of a new light at Hope Avenue. A path for bikers and pedestrians will be built on the east side of the highway to further connect Post Falls to Rathdrum, Bernardi said.

“We encourage comments from the public,” Bernardi said. “We want the public to be involved in the process because it’s ultimately for them. They’re our users, and we want the project to meet their needs.”

ITD contractors will begin construction in 2020 and finish in 2021. Contractors will minimize traffic impacts by building the new northbound lanes while the public continues to use the existing two-lane highway. Once the northbound lanes are finished, traffic will be redirected to those new lanes while contractors rebuild the old portion of ID-41. At the end of construction, the public will be able to travel on a divided four-lane highway from Mullan Avenue to Prairie Avenue, Bernardi said.

This $14.5 million project is part of a larger reconstruction project to improve ID-41 from Mullan Avenue in Post Falls to Boekel Road in Rathdrum. Improvements for the entire highway between Post Falls and Rathdrum are anticipated to be completed by 2021 at an estimated cost of $39 million, Bernardi said.

Interested parties may attend a separate public meeting in January 2018 for ID-41 improvements from Prairie Avenue to Boekel Road, said John Vaudreuil, ITD project manager for that section of the highway.

ITD seeking communicator for south-central Idaho

The Idaho Transportation Department is looking for a Public Information Specialist to work in south-central Idaho and join the department’s Office of Communication in telling the story of one of the best transportation departments in the country.

If you are interested in working for an award-winning, dynamic, professional state agency, with a constructive culture focused on outstanding customer service and continuous employee improvement, this may be for you!

Top job candidates will have an opportunity to help make Idaho’s roads safer, increase mobility and promote economic opportunity, using skills in media relations, writing and collaboration.

Candidates must have strong writing skills, experience interacting with news media, an understanding of how to use social media effectively and the ability to collaborate with others to develop successful outreach campaigns and facilitate public hearings, meetings and events. The preferred candidate should also have a basic knowledge of photography, publication design, marketing, government relations experience and an understanding of how to write for print and broadcast mediums.

For more information or to apply, here’s a link to the job posting. The deadline for applications is Tuesday (Nov. 28).

ITD urges travelers to celebrate responsibly

The day before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest drinking days of the year.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest travel times of the year with millions of Americans hitting the road to spend time with family. The holiday’s celebratory spirit also makes it one of the most dangerous periods on our roads.

In recent years, Thanksgiving has become one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year.

“It’s the biggest drinking event we don’t talk about,” said Ken Corder from the Office of Highway Safety (OHS). “A lot of us like to catch up with old friends while we’re home for the holiday and to be honest and many of those meetings happen in a bar.”

This trend has resulted in what is being called “Blackout Wednesday” and it has been deadly on roads across our country. Over the last five years, an estimated 800 people were killed across the country as a result of impaired driving during the Thanksgiving holiday (6:00 p.m. Wednesday to 5:59 a.m. Monday). In 2016, an 37 people died each day during the Thanksgiving period.

In an effort to reduce impaired driving crashes, OHS is joining with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and every state across the country in a social media blitz.

“We want to start the conversation to get people home safely,” Corder said. “If you plan to drink, designate a driver, call a cab, or use a ride share app. You’re there to enjoy the holiday with family and friends – don’t let a bad decision ruin that for all.”

ITD to protect travelers during No Refusal Weekend

Local law enforcement agencies gather with partners to announce the No Refusal Weekend.

Photo above: Law enforcement agencies gather with partners to announce the No Refusal Weekend.

 

COEUR d’ALENE – With help from the Idaho Transportation Department, various law enforcement agencies in Kootenai County are expanding measures to protect the traveling public this holiday season, beginning with the No Refusal Weekend during Thanksgiving week.

“Drug- or alcohol-impaired driving is the leading cause of fatal crashes in Idaho,” said John Kempf, a captain with the Idaho State Police (ISP), during a press conference Thursday (Nov. 16).

Kempf said seven people died from six fatal crashes in Kootenai County in October — a significant number considering that during the last three years, there have been eight fatalities on average in the county for the entire year.

Of those six fatal crashes in October, ISP suspects five were alcohol or drug related, Kempf said.

In response, law enforcement agencies are launching a county-wide campaign to catch impaired drivers and prevent fatal crashes. Nick Knoll, an officer from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, coordinated with other law enforcement agencies and the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety to produce the No Refusal Weekend.

The No Refusal Weekend includes educational opportunities for the public but also marks the beginning of emphasis patrols for the holiday season. There will be 15 extra officers throughout the county Nov. 24-25, patrolling specifically for impaired drivers, Knoll said.

Knoll said these emphasis patrols were made possible by federal funding administered by ITD.

“ITD approved grants for local law enforcement agencies to cover the additional costs that will result from these extra patrols to enforce traffic safety,” said Lisa Losness, a grants officer for the Office of Highway Safety.

Five law enforcement agencies within Kootenai County applied for funding to pay the overtime wages of officers, with requests ranging from $500 to $1,500, to take part in the No Refusal Weekend, Losness said.

Viewers will have a chance to learn what makes the weekend unique by visiting the Facebook page of the Post Falls Police Department for a virtual ride-along experience starting at 8 p.m. on Saturday (Nov. 25), Knoll said.

If drivers are pulled over and refuse to take a breath test during emphasis patrols on No Refusal Weekend, officers will attempt to obtain a search warrant to have specially trained officers collect blood samples. Local law enforcement agencies note that those who refuse to cooperate with breath testing tend to have a significant history of DUIs and a high blood alcohol content when tested, Knoll said.

Test results from blood samples ultimately shorten court proceedings and save police departments time and money, Knoll said.

For those drivers stopped during the No Refusal Weekend for reasons unrelated to impaired driving, Knoll said Fire Artisan Pizza in Coeur d’Alene has provided officers with coupons to hand out as a thank-you to sober drivers.

ISP will offer alcohol beverage control training to any interested servers or bartenders at its Coeur d’Alene office at 1 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 21). The public is also invited to attend an informational booth in the Resort Plaza Shops before and after the Coeur d’Alene Lighting Ceremony Parade on Friday (Nov. 24). Visitors can wear “beer goggles” that simulate impaired driving, Knoll said.

Football fans who visit the booth can enter to win a football signed by Mark Rypien, the Washington Redskins’ MVP from Super Bowl XXVI, said Kootenai County Sheriff Wolfinger.

Parade viewers can also cheer on the No Refusal Weekend float and its theme of “Be a Hero. Prevent Impaired Driving” and know that the law enforcement agencies escorting the float have already partnered to protect travelers this holiday season.

Top 2017 innovations feature safety, cost savings and more

The Idaho Transportation Department’s ongoing innovation initiative, now in its fourth year, has already shown some impressive results. The program has so far saved Idaho taxpayers $5.1 million in efficiencies that are applied directly back into maintenance and repair of the state’s roads and bridges. Along the way, the innovations have improved customer service, enhanced mobility, and directly impacted safety for highway workers and the traveling public.

ITD’s emphasis on innovation features a statewide employee-driven effort with a premium on finding safer, easier and less expensive solutions. The 2017 Best of the Best competition spotlights innovations in each of seven categories central to the department’s main goals: safety, mobility, economic opportunity, customer service, employee development, time savings and cost savings.

“It is so exciting to celebrate every employee’s efforts to make things just a little bit safer or better in some way,” said ITD Chief Administrative Officer Charlene McArthur. “Recognizing the spirit of innovation in every employee is what Innovate ITD! is about.

Since the program began in 2014, ITD has:

• Received 1,120 ideas from employees
• Implemented 760 innovations
• Generated savings and efficiency improvements of $5.1 million*
• Realized 170,000 contractor and employee hours saved
• Created 420 customer-service improvements.

* The savings in time and money are being used to maintain roads and bridges and provide better customer service.

Here are the seven category winners in ITD’s Best of the Best 2017 – Watch the Best of the Best video:

SAFETY
For the safety category, ITD’s south-central Idaho office began by improving the nighttime visibility of delineator posts. Safety can be dicey on Idaho’s many rural roads.

On tight turns, you might see a series of yellow signs with black chevrons warning drivers, or a row of standard markers or reflectors showing a hazard ahead. In some locations, that’s not always enough.

D4’s James Bennett created a low-cost option to assist drivers in recognizing the change in direction of travel. A series of these posts can be installed within a couple hours.

Watch curve delineation video

CUSTOMER SERVICE
In the Customer Service category, the winning idea uses 3D renderings to drive better public understanding.

ITD is using new technology to help the public and stakeholders better grasp complex bridge replacements, visualize what ITD is trying to accomplish, and understand how the new bridges will fit into the town’s aesthetics or existing environment.

By using 3D bridge renderings and animations, ITD is better able to communicate project complexities and alleviate frustrations. This has been very popular and proven extremely beneficial on several high-profile projects where the 3D renderings and animations were fundamental to understanding project goals and outcomes.

Having a 3D visual makes it come to life for people, and helps reduce controversy by clearing up misunderstandings.

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
The winner is an idea to provide alternatives to load-posting bridges.

An innovation developed by ITD Bridge Asset Management provides local bridge owners with options when faced with deterioration, so a particular bridge can remain open and unrestricted to legal vehicle loads, rather than simply giving load-posting requirements.

The goal is to keep local bridges open and unrestricted to vehicle traffic, which supports ITD’s mission. It improves the lives of Idaho citizens by safely ensuring mobility is uninterrupted and business can transport goods and services in less time.

COST SAVINGS
Mechanic Brandon Thurber and colleagues in ITD’s D6 shop lamented that aluminum valves, floor plates, and mounting covers on truck frames were replaced twice a year because of salt corrosion. So, they began investigating ways to preserve shed trucks.

One day they discovered that spraying the components with varnish preserved the metal, reducing corrosion and replacement costs.

Total annual replacement cost for the rusted-out components was about $48,000 — $800 for each of the district’s 60 trucks. By using the varnish, that cost can be cut by $40,000 per year.

MOBILITY
In this category, the 2017 winner was magnetic.

A simple idea out of the south-central Idaho office could help prevent flat tires with a giant magnetic sweeper bar mounted to a patrol vehicle. Best of all, the innovation will help both the general driving public AND department employees.

D.J. Price of D4 got the idea when looking at the punctured casings of several blown tires about 100 yards away from a mess of nails on the road.

ITD trucks were a logical choice – they are already out on the road.

TIME SAVINGS
The 2017 winner is an innovation to streamline purchases.

Step into the typical ITD shed and you’ll find hundreds of tools, parts, and pieces of equipment. Staying on top of that list can be a logistical nightmare.

So, an ITD team worked on solutions to streamline the process. They created standardized digital forms with some auto-fill fields and drop-down menus to speed up the process. They also found it made sense to open up the approval process. Only orders more than $10,000 need to be approved by a supervisor.

With a new protocol in place and vending machines for supplies getting installed across the state, the solution is on track to save thousands of labor hours.

EMPLOYEE DEVELOPMENT
This year’s winner provides a career-development path for ITD maintenance workers.

Already seeing an influx of new Transportation Techs and anticipating even more in coming years, ITD’s eastern Idaho office developed a “TTO Boot Camp” to get new employees trained on the basic elements of the maintenance program and acclimated to a career at ITD. Having consistent training across each regional foreman area also gave these newcomers a kick start to their development and effectiveness. To ease the on-boarding process, the department also paired a mentor with the new employees.

ITD is providing a higher level of service to employees, and those skills can then be applied to service to the public on roadways.

Those are ITD’s 2017 Best of the Best winners, showcasing how innovative thinking can improve products and services and make the most of taxpayer funds.