Comment sought on Public Transportation Plan for next 30 days

For the next 30 days, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Public Transportation Office (ITD-PT) is asking for input on their draft Statewide Public Transportation Plan, and six Local Coordinated Plans.

The plans are located in the ITD-PT website page.

The overarching goal of the Idaho Statewide Public Transportation Plan is to support and help provide a framework for an integrated public transportation system that meets the mobility needs of Idahoans. The Statewide Plan identifies and will support programs and projects in line with the Federal Transit Administration’s programs goals, as well as the Idaho Transportation Department’s mission of Your Safety, Your Mobility, Your Economic Opportunity.

In addition, the plan will be supplemented by the Local Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plans from the rural jurisdictions within the six ITD Districts around the state.

The Statewide Plan and the Local Coordinated Plans examine the current state of public transportation in Idaho, what gaps and needs exist, how those gaps and needs can be addressed, and what public transportation in Idaho can look like in the next five years.

Anyone interested in having their voice heard and would like to comment is asked to send remarks to ITD-PT Grants Officer Rachel Pallister at Rachel.Pallister@itd.idaho.gov.

A final draft will be presented to the Idaho Transportation Board for adoption following the comment period.

ITD’s southeast Idaho office partners to put US-89 on Road Diet, solve speeding issue 

When city and state partner on a project, great things usually result. Such was the case recently in the small town of Paris, Idaho, where US-89 is a state highway and also serves as the small southeastern Idaho town’s main street.

Because Highway 89 is on the State Highway System, ITD has responsibility for the highway. City leaders brought a local safety concern to ITD regarding speeders, and the groups collaborated to solve the issue.

Mayor Brent Lewis contacted the ITD District 5 Traffic section Sept. 25 about converting the four-lane section to a three-lane section, with parking and bike lanes, to help get a handle on vehicles speeding through town. Lewis described people jockeying for position in the four-lane section and this behavior was leading to frequent speeding. Because ITD had just chip sealed and fog coated US-89, it was an opportune time.

ITD quickly researched the roadway width, contacted the contractor on the chip sealing and authorized changes in striping quantities (from 8,000 Lineal Feet to about 30,000) to make it happen. District 5 Traffic Engineer Corey Krantz (pictured left) decided to employ a “Road Diet” to solve the issue. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) defines the Road Diet concept as the practice of removing travel lanes from a roadway and using the space for other uses and travel modes.

The most common Road Diet is to convert an undivided four-lane roadway to a three-lane undivided roadway made up of two through lanes and a center two-way, left-turn lane. The reduction of lanes allows the roadway section to be reallocated for other uses such as bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands, transit uses, or parking.

According to FHWA, before-and-after studies suggest a traffic-calming effect that results in a 4-5 mph reduction in the 85th percentile free-flow speed, a 25% reduction in travel speed, and a 30% reduction in the percentage of vehicles traveling more than 5 mph over the speed limit. In addition, lane-elimination projects generally reduce the severity of crashes.

The data shows that these three-lane roadways are effective for traffic volumes up to 20,000 vehicles per day. The traffic volume for the town of Paris is right around 4,000 to 5,000 vehicles per day on a busy summer weekend.

Striping was moved up in the schedule to accommodate the change.

Brad Stevens, a TTO in Montpelier Maintenance, assisted Krantz in laying out the new striping pattern, which took most of one morning to mark out.

“Brad and I got the various lanes widths laid out within the curb and gutter sections,” explained Krantz. “It resulted in fewer conflict points, which increased safety.”

The road was re-striped to accommodate 11-foot travel lanes, 6-foot bike lanes, and 8.5-foot parking slots, with 150-foot transitions at the ends. The Road Diet provides other roadway features that are more conducive to the general public, like bike lanes and possible changes in parking.

Mayor Lewis is happy with the results. “It looks great, and I’ve heard many positive comments from citizens. Most of the year-round residents really like it. Our City Council liked it. Mayors from other towns have said they view it as a safety improvement. I have talked to all law enforcement officers and asked for their comments, and what they observe with regard to the change.”

“It has definitely helped from a safety standpoint,” said Idaho State Police officer Chris Clausing (pictured below), a resident of Paris. Clausing, a father of four who has patrolled Paris for the past two years, has seen egregious speeding first-hand.

“I’ve stopped people for going 60 mph and 70 mph through town, and ISP deputies have caught someone doing 80 mph before. The speed limit is 35 mph transitioning to 25 mph, so that is more than excessive in my opinion.”

“Speeds have definitely dropped, and the biggest benefit is safety for the kids. There’s more of a buffer now between them and the highway lanes. Before, if the kids were playing ball and a ball made it out of the front yard, they were right in the middle of the road, because the highway and sidewalk were right next to each other.”

These Road Diets have been used with great success in other Idaho cities such as Victor, Idaho Falls, Rigby, and Malad. Besides Paris, District 5 has been promoting this for the city of Preston for a couple of years, and after many discussions and meetings with the city and the public, the Preston City Council voted unanimously on October 23 to approve a Road Diet through Preston on US-91.

The changes will occur when the highway is seal coated next summer.

 

 

South Midway Road Closure Oct. 31-Nov. 5 in Canyon County

 
Weather permitting, South Midway Road will be closed from Tuesday,Oct. 31 at 7 a.m. to Sunday, Nov. 5.

  • Motorists heading south on Midway Road will be detoured to Orchard Avenue via Middleton Road or Lake Avenue.
  • Residents will be able to access their homes using the designated detour route.
  • These closures may vary depending upon weather conditions.

ITD recommends motorists plan ahead, slow down, and find an alternate route.

ID-55 South Midway Road Detouor


For more information go to the ID-55: Karcher Road Project web page.
 
Sign up for ID-55: Karcher Road Construction Updates
TEXT: IDAHO55 to 22828  |  CALL: 208-334-8938  |  EMAIL: Jennifer.Gonzalez@itd.idaho.gov
 

ITD Office of Highway Safety launches SHIFT Idaho engaged-driving campaign

Whether it’s a drive around the block or a trip across the state, there is no shortage of distractions to take your mind off the road. To help Idahoans stay focused on the drive, ITD’s Office of Highway Safety is launching a new engaged-driving program called SHIFT.

The idea behind engaged driving is to create an opportunity for Idahoans to start thinking and talking about what’s appropriate behind the wheel and in the passenger’s seat. SHIFT is a program designed to help share techniques and strategies to reduce distractions and grow driver engagement.

“A distraction is anything that takes your mind away from the road,” said Highway Safety Manager John Tomlinson. “There are obvious distractions and others we may not even recognize – but we all know what it means to be engaged and we really want to highlight those behaviors.”

This approach is based on the concept of Positive Culture Framework, a system that promotes health and safety by building on shared values, beliefs and attitudes.

“Most people in Idaho are doing the right thing,” said Tomlinson. “SHIFT is our opportunity to grow those good behaviors and make our roads safer.”

Unlike traditional highway safety campaigns, SHIFT combines efforts to reach drivers directly through different media with workplace engagement. A pilot program is currently underway to develop a toolkit to help teach employers how to talk to their employees about engaged driving. The pilot sites will test different tools and review workplace distracted driving policies to see what can be done to impact driver behavior.

“We feel the right combination of policy, education and reinforcement at the workplace can help us move the needle,” Tomlinson said. “We really believe this layered approach will help us create safer roads and a safer Idaho.”
To learn more about the program, visit shift-idaho.org

ID-3: St. Maries Bridge Replacements Schedule Adjusted

In the original St. Maries Bridge Replacements project schedule, the railroad bridge was to be constructed prior to the river bridge. However, with unforeseen delays during the first several weeks, there is no longer time to construct the railroad bridge without impacting the construction of river bridge, and the river bridge construction is the critical path to overall project completion. The project team is currently reworking the construction schedule with the Idaho Department of Transportation. This will NOT change the overall completion date of the project.

The schedule below reflects the new proposed timeline. The only difference between this and the original schedule is the timing of the railroad bridge work:

  • Early winter 2017 through late winter 2018: Crews will construct the river bridge foundation.
    • Riverside Ave between 4th and 1st Streets will be closed intermittently.
    • Additional intermittent lane closures will take place as needed to mobilize equipment.
  • Late winter through summer 2018: Crews will construct the west half of the new river bridge and will complete improvements on Railroad Ave.
    • The road will be reduced to one lane with a temporary signal to direct traffic.
    • Delays during peak hours can be expected.
    • A pedestrian pathway will be maintained.
  • Summer through fall 2018: Crews will remove and replace the railroad bridge.
    • The detour through town will be in place.
  • Summer through winter 2018: Crews will construct the east half of the river bridge.
    • Two-way traffic will be shifted onto the new west side of the bridge.
    • A pedestrian pathway will be maintained.

Please note that this schedule is still subject to change as the design is further developed and as critical subcontractors are secured.

Crews will complete the detour paving today in preparation for the railroad bridge closure in summer 2018. However, for approximately one week in the near future, the railroad bridge will be closed, and the detour route will be put into effect. This will take place as crews repair a utility pipe that broke last week.

Once the pipe is repaired, roadway impacts will be minimal until the river bridge is reduced to one lane in late winter 2018.

For questions or concerns call Gemma Puddy at 208-292-8515.

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.