District 6 celebrates US-20 improvements with $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) donated $10,000 to the Utah and Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation at a ceremony at the Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho October 10. The prize money came to ITD when the Thornton project won the America’s Transportation Awards public vote earlier this fall.

Pictured (L to R): Scott, Lina and Kim Robinson present the donation to Cystic Fibrosis Foundation representative Joe Wojciechowski. District Engineer Jason Minzghor (far right) served as event emcee.

Watch the video of the event.

Now 20, Lina Robinson (daughter of D6 Maintenance Foreman Scott Robinson) has suffered with Cystic Fibrosis since birth.

So far, there is no cure for the disease. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation supports a wide range of research that focuses on the hunt for a cure and improving the quality of life for patients. The disease afflicts roughly 70,000 people worldwide.

“With this donation, we are partnering with the Utah and Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation,” said ITD District 6 Engineer Jason Minzghor. “ITD is pleased to be able to contribute and, in this small way, be of assistance to Lina and others who deal with the genetic disease.”

“The disease is a steady challenge,” Lina said. “I have learned to accept the treatment requirements. A number of medical advances over the years have improved my quality of life. The biggest challenge is trying to fit the treatments into my busy schedule.”
Lina Robinson

The Thornton Interchange on U.S. 20 south of Rexburg opened Nov. 18, 2016, marking completion of all the work needed to make the corridor a safe, modern highway. District 6 has completed 20 years of work along the 34-mile stretch of highway between Idaho Falls and Sugar City, closing 18 at-grade (level) intersections and constructing seven full interchanges.

Despite traffic volumes more than doubling while the new interchanges were being built, the safety improvements decreased serious-injury crashes by 75% and reduced fatalities to less than one per year. Improvements furthered ITD’s mission of safety, mobility and economic opportunity for the traveling public, saving lives and reducing property damage.

Innovation in design and the safety that resulted from construction of the new interchange has been widely recognized, with the project winning three prestigious awards:

1. President’s Transportation Award for Highway Traffic Safety – American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

2. “People’s Choice” Award – America’s Transportation Awards.

3. Best Use of Technology and Innovation – Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO).

Intersection improvements ramp up on Idaho 55 in Canyon County; motorist urged to plan ahead and consider alternate route

The Idaho Transportation Department is advising motorists to prepare for construction-related delays at the Lake Avenue and Midway Road intersections on Idaho 55 over the next several weeks. Crews will install mobile signals at both intersections the week of Oct. 23 and prepare to close areas for widening.

What’s Next:

ITD is repaving Idaho 55 between Pride Lane in Caldwell and Middleton Road in Nampa and improving the intersections at Farmway Road, Lake Avenue and Midway Road. Weather permitting, the project is expected to be completed in late 2017.

While the mobile signals are in place, left-turning traffic at both intersections will use the through lane. The temporary configuration will give crews more room to widen the intersections.
To give crews room to excavate and pave new turn lanes, ITD will schedule multiple road closures at the two intersections this fall. Each intersection includes two work areas – one north and one south of Idaho 55. Closures will rotate, leaving only one area closed at any time. The four work areas include:
• North Midway Road from Homedale Road to Karcher Road.
• South Midway Road from Orchard Avenue to Karcher Road.
• North Lake Avenue from Homedale Road to Karcher Road.
• South Lake Avenue from Karcher Road to Orchard Avenue.

Each closure will remain in place 24/7 for approximately three days. Residents will have access to their homes during the closures. All other local traffic will be detoured. Click here for a map of the detour routes.

“We are urging motorists to plan ahead, slow down and find an alternate route if possible over the next few weeks,” said ITD Construction Coordinator Merrill Sharp. To sign up for email construction updates, text IDAHO55 to 22828, email jennifer.gonzalez@itd.idaho.gov or call (208) 334-8938. More information is available at itd.idaho.gov/d3.

St. Maries Detour Paving to Start Next Week

St. Maries 10th Street Detour

Crews may start paving the detour route as early as Tuesday, Oct. 24, during daylight hours. This work will take place on Riverside Avenue, Railroad Avenue, 10th Street and 1st Street, and is in preparation for the closure of the railroad bridge.

10th Street between Idaho and Main Avenues will be closed to through traffic on Tuesday, Oct. 24, and the other roadways will be reduced to one lane intermittently as paving takes place for up to four days.

Business access will be maintained, and access through each area will be controlled by flaggers. Please expect minor dust, noise, vibrations and parking restrictions as this work is completed. Visit the project page or call 208-292-8515 for more project information.

Extension continues use of driver’s license at security checkpoints

Star Card Sample Image

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will continue to allow the use of current Idaho driver’s licenses and identification cards at federal security checkpoints, such as courthouses, military bases and airport TSA screenings.

Star Card Logo

DHS is beginning to enforce compliance of minimum security standards for credentials created by the REAL ID Act. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will begin issuing REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards in early 2018. These will be called Star Cards.

Beginning Oct. 1, 2020 DHS will require REAL ID-compliant credentials for security checks. Compliant credentials include a Star Card driver’s license or ID, a passport, or military ID – to name just a few. Between now and the Oct. 1 deadline, Idahoans can continue to use their current Idaho driver’s license or ID at security checks.

Getting a Star Card is not mandatory, but it (or another compliant credential) will be required to get through security at airports, courthouses, and military bases. More information about the Star Card can be found at itd.idaho.gov/starcard.

Obtaining a Star Card will require additional documentation. ITD has developed a helpful “Add the Star” tool online the public can use to find out their options.

For a full list of compliant credentials, visit the TSA website at tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification

Idaho Transportation Board approves additional $100 million in funding I-84 corridor

Crew works on bridge

BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Board approved a resolution to allocate more than $100 million toward funding expansion in the Interstate 84 Caldwell to Nampa Corridor during the monthly meeting today (Thursday, Oct. 12) in Boise.

“The Transportation Board recognizes the need to address congestion in this corridor and are focusing funds here to make greater gains toward improving the corridor,” said Transportation Board Chairman Jerry Whitehead.

Funding sources include the Transportation Expansion and Congestion Mitigation (TECM) Program money for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 approved by this year’s legislature, 2018 General Fund Surplus, and several other state funding sources. These funds are still pending spending authorization from the 2018 legislature.

The money approved today also will be used to strengthen an application for $90 million in a federal grant for this corridor.

“Combining these new state dollars toward the I-84 expansion allows ITD to leverage our resources to address this crucial corridor, and potentially free up and leverage funds for other needs,” said Whitehead.

Idaho Transportation Department refinances GARVEE to save $13.1 million for taxpayers

BOISE – The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will save approximately $13.1 million in interest costs on GARVEE highway bonds. ITD worked with the Idaho Housing and Finance Association to refinance $101 million of debt by reducing interest rates from 4.5% to 2.3% on those bonds.

This is the second refinancing of GARVEE bonds completed by ITD and IHFA as part of the continuing management of this program. The first, in 2015, resulted in $12.7 million.

“Through GARVEE, we are investing wisely by spending the money now to solve the transportation problems of tomorrow. We are paying less than the anticipated cost of inflation for the same construction work in years to come,” said ITD Director Brian Ness. “The GARVEE program on the whole is another example of ITD being as efficient as possible by saving money, stretching resources, and reinvesting savings back into the maintenance of our roads and bridges.”

GARVEE bonds allow ITD to finance much-needed road and bridgework, with the promise to pay back the borrowed capital during the next 18 years.

“ITD continues to look for opportunities to take advantage of favorable market conditions and ensure that we are managing our finances wisely for the taxpayers of Idaho,” said department Chief Administrative Officer Charlene McArthur. “We apply those savings back to maintenance and improvement of our roads and bridges.”

GARVEE bonds have paid for approximately $857 million in road and bridge work in the last 10 years, including 119 miles of new roadway, 41 new or rebuilt bridges, and 14 new or rebuilt interchanges.

The Idaho Legislature approved an additional $300 million in GARVEE bonding authority during their last session, and the Idaho Transportation Board has already started to direct some of that funding toward needed projects in the Treasure Valley and in northern Idaho.

McArthur also credited ITD Controller Dave Tolman for his diligence in managing the financing transaction and work with external partners. “The ITD team will continue to monitor the market and work with our partners to identify future opportunities,” she said.

Idaho receives nearly $37 million from federal Airport Improvement Program

BOISE – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently awarded nearly $37 million in grants to Idaho airports from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).

In all, 23 recipients received 32 FAA-AIP grants to maintain and improve Idaho’s airport facilities. This is the culmination of a joint federal, state, and local airport process to address air transportation in Idaho.

“Idaho’s quality airport system requires regular investment,” Idaho Division of Aeronautics Administrator Mike Pape said. “With that level of interest and commitment, Idaho will keep and improve a world-renowned airport system that services the citizens of Idaho to meet goals for mobility, safety, and economic opportunity.”

Some highlights:
– Idaho’s six primary (passenger) airports received grants totaling $28,961,834.
– Idaho’s federally eligible General Aviation airports received grants totaling $7,619,553.
– The Idaho Division of Aeronautics received a grant for $410,000 to update their Airport System Plan.

The state of Idaho, through ITD’s Division of Aeronautics, has provided an additional $1 million to assist airport owners in meeting the matching-funds obligation that is part of the FAA-AIP funding and to provide funding for small community airports that do not qualify for federal funding.

The list includes grants for these major projects:

McCarley Field/Blackfoot 
Rehabilitate Taxiway
$1,155,863

Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field
Rehabilitate Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Building
$3,560,586

Boise Air Terminal/Gowen Field
Rehabilitate Taxiway & Improve Safety Area
$3,922,633

Friedman Memorial
Rehabilitate Runway, Snow Removal Equipment & Expand North Terminal Apron
$2,624,098

Idaho Falls Regional
Reconstruct Taxiways & Install Guidance Signs
$7,813,597

Jerome County 
Rehabilitate Apron & Reconstruct Taxiway
$1,137,390

Lewiston-Nez Perce County
Construct buildings for Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting, Snow Removal Equipment
$4,368,551
Acquire Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle
$598,275

Magic Valley Regional
Construct Taxiway, Acquire Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting Vehicle
$1,228,658
Rehabilitate Taxiway & Reconstruct Taxiway
$3,460,768

McCall Municipal 
Reconstruct Apron
$1,250,797

Mountain Home Municipal 
Reconstruct Apron
$1,050,267

Pocatello Regional
Rehabilitate Runway 03-21, Reconstruct Taxiway, Rehabilitate Runway 17-35, Rehabilitate Taxiway, Acquire Snow-Removal Equipment
$998,437

ITD to donate $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis

RIGBY – The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) will donate $10,000 to the Utah and Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation on Tuesday (Oct. 10). The gift is ITD’s prize money from winning the America’s Transportation “People’s Choice” Award for the Thornton Interchange project.

MEDIA ADVISORY: The media is invited to the west side of the Thornton Interchange at 2 p.m. Tuesday to see ITD formally donate the prize money to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The opening of the Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg last November culminated 20 years of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built along a 34-mile stretch of the highway between Idaho Falls and Sugar City. The project and the overall U.S. 20 safety improvements have reduced serious-injury crashes by 75% and cut fatalities to less than one per year in that stretch of highway.

Cystic Fibrosis hits close to home for the eastern Idaho office of ITD known as District 6. Foreman Scott Robinson’s daughter, Lina, has suffered with it since birth. The disease is a progressive, genetic malady that causes persistent lung infections and eventually limits one’s ability to breathe.

(Picture of Lina Robinson)

Lina, 20, braves three different breathing treatments every day – each of which takes an hour. She takes special enzymes with every meal to help with digestion, consumes an array of vitamins and other supplements, and eats high-calorie meals and snacks. She regularly visits doctors, nurses, nutritionists, social workers, x-ray lab technicians, and pharmacists. Prescriptions cost $15,000 per month.

“The disease is a steady challenge,” she said, “I have learned to accept the treatment requirements. A number of medical advances over the years have improved my quality of life. The biggest challenge is trying to fit the treatments into my busy schedule.”

So far there is no cure for the disease. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation supports a wide range of research that focuses on the hunt for a cure and improving the quality of life for patients. The disease afflicts roughly 70,000 people worldwide.

One in 30 people are carriers of the recessive Cystic Fibrosis gene. If a man is a carrier and marries a woman who is a carrier, the couple has a 25% chance of having a child with Cystic Fibrosis.

“We are partnering with the Utah and Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by donating the prize money to them,” said ITD District 6 Engineer Jason Minzghor. “ITD is pleased to be able to contribute and, in this small way, be of assistance to Lina and others who deal with the genetic disease.”

“Last year, about 89 cents of each dollar of total foundation expenses was spent on research and medical, community and education programs,” said Ashley Barton, senior development director of the Utah and Idaho Chapter in Salt Lake City. The chapter is the nearest Cystic Fibrosis Foundation office in the region.

“We take pride in being an effective organization and are careful stewards of every dollar raised in support of our mission to further research and improve treatment,” Barton said.

Because Cystic Fibrosis is rare, the foundation doesn’t receive any federal funding, said chapter Executive Director Laura Hadley.

“Efforts of the chapter directly affect local Idaho communities and the patients cared for at the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center located at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Boise,” Hadley said. The care center at St. Luke’s is the only Cystic Fibrosis clinic in Idaho.

Lina typically visits the Cystic Fibrosis clinic for adults at the University of Utah Hospital. In her childhood, she visited the pediatric Cystic Fibrosis clinic at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

The Utah and Idaho Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation works with the Cystic Fibrosis Care Center at St. Luke’s to ensure standardized, quality care.

$8M in funding available for Transportation Alternatives Program involving walking, biking

The Idaho Transportation Department is looking for walking or biking projects to be funded by nearly $8 million available through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). TAP uses federal funds to provide a variety of alternative transportation projects that advance ITD’s strategic goals of safety, mobility, and economic opportunity.

Programs and projects such as on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects that improve access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, and safe routes to school educational projects, are eligible for TAP funding. Eligibility is contingent upon a project sponsor’s cash-only contribution to the project, right of way must be secured, and environmental requirements that do not exceed certain thresholds.

Please visit the TAP section of the department’s website at: http://itd.idaho.gov/alt-programs  to access the new application and instructions for submitting.

Final applications must be submitted to ITD electronically by December 1, 2017 at 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

 

 

 

 

 

DOUBLE DOWN ON THORNTON: Eastern Idaho project wins President’s and People’s Choice awards, plus $10,000 for Cystic Fibrosis

The Idaho Transportation Department Thornton Interchange project won the America’s Transportation “People’s Choice” vote today, along with a President’s Award from a national transportation industry group.

The America’s Transportation Awards (ATA) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) President’s Awards winners were announced today (Wednesday, Sept. 27) in Phoenix, Arizona.

The opening of the new Thornton Interchange in eastern Idaho south of Rexburg last November culminated 16 years of U.S. 20 safety improvements. Thornton was the last of seven new interchanges built along a 34-mile stretch of the highway between Idaho Falls and Sugar City.

Watch the video of the Thornton project.

Despite traffic volumes doubling during that time, improvements reduced serious-injury crashes by 75% and cut fatalities to less than one per year.

This marks the fourth Idaho project to advance to the national People’s Choice stage of America’s Transportation Awards since 2013. None of the four has finished lower than third in the public voting, furthering ITD’s reputation as a national leader. It is also the 11th AASHTO President’s Award for ITD since Director Brian Ness arrived in 2010.

ATA awards are a joint effort of AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“The new Thornton Interchange greatly improves safety and mobility in Eastern Idaho and is saving lives,” said Ness. “This award shows ITD is now recognized nationally as an agency that finds better, more innovative ways to build projects that put the focus on serving the citizens.”

Completion of the Thornton Interchange removes dangerous at-grade intersections and makes the busy route a continuous four-lane divided highway from Idaho Falls to Sugar City.

“This honor and the national awards we have won are all employee driven. We empower our team to make decisions closer to where the work is being done and that has made us a more efficient and effective organization,” Ness added. “It’s this philosophy that is helping us to become the best transportation department in the country.”

Several innovations during the project saved ITD almost $450,000.

“Providing the contractor with a 3-D model for the Thornton Interchange and requiring the contractor to use automated grade control during construction shortened the required construction time and reduced the impact to traffic through the busiest part of the summer,” said ITD eastern Idaho District Engineering Manager Wade Allen.

“ITD will partner with the Idaho/Utah Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation by donating the prize money to them,” ITD eastern Idaho District Engineer Jason Minzghor said. Cystic Fibrosis is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and eventually limits one’s ability to breathe.