US-95 reconstruction in Bonners Ferry nearly complete

Picture of the freshly reconstructed highway

Weather permitting, highway construction in Bonners Ferry is expected to end before Thanksgiving.

Minor work on sidewalks and landscaping will continue through the month but highway traffic will not be stopped.

Over the last two years, the highway has been rebuilt from Kootenai River Bridge to Alderson Lane with a continuous center turn lane through town and pedestrian facilities on both sides.

A second phase of construction between Alderson Lane and Labrosse Hill Street is scheduled for 2023 and 2024 and will extend a similar design to better serve mobility and safety in the area.

Motorists encounter new traffic pattern next week on US-93 in Lincoln County

Motorists traveling on US-93 south of Shoshone next week will encounter a change in traffic pattern as newly constructed climbing lanes open for use. The new lanes are expected to open on Tuesday (Nov. 5).

“The addition of these climbing lanes will allow drivers to safely pass slower vehicles that may be traveling along the elevated stretch of roadway,” said south-central Idaho project coordinator Kenny Lively. “These new lanes will improve safety in the corridor for both commercial and passenger vehicles.”

Since May of this year, the Idaho Transportation Department has been constructing a divided highway with approximately three miles of northbound and southbound lanes near Notch Butte.

Portable message signs have been added on US-93 alerting drivers of the upcoming change in pattern. Motorists should pay attention while driving through this area as they become familiar with navigating the new roadway.

 

Substantial headway made on Salt Lake Interchange project east of Burley

Underway since May 2018, substantial progress has been made on the Interstate 84/86 Salt Lake City Interchange in Cassia County. With this project, the Idaho Transportation Department is replacing the old interchange with a new structure that will meet current standards and provide a better driving experience for motorists.

“This is a vital travel and commerce corridor for not only this area, but for the entire state,” said ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock. “Our goal is to construct an interchange that will serve motorists for many years to come.”

As work proceeds, drivers should anticipate a continuation of reduced speeds and changing traffic patterns through the work zone.

“There will be varying detours over the next several months as work on specific portions of the structure occurs,” stated ITD Project Inspector Jack Kelly. “It’s important that motorists not follow their GPS but instead pay close attention to signage which is in place to safely direct motorists through the area.”

Construction is scheduled to finish by late 2020.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

Improved, updated 511 Traveler Information System launched

Note: The image above is what a visitor to the 511 site will see – an invitation to try out the new platform.

BOISE – With winter driving weather bearing down on much of the state, a new and improved version of the 511 Traveler Information System launched today (Thursday, Oct. 31). The improved site, still accessible at 511.idaho.gov, offers an updated look and new features for the 14-year-old service.

“The new website offers a new, more intuitive user interface,” explained 511 Manager Tony Ernest. “We are simplifying and consolidating — making it easier to use and find the information people want.”

“We’re taking the best from multiple pages before and rolling it into one location,” Ernest explained. The improvement also means that all platforms – desktop computer, tablet, cell phone — will be supported by that one single site.

Rather than offering a separate version for commercial vehicle operators, the improved 511 has a special “Truckers” mode more customized to their specific needs.

Ernest also said the improved site welcomes feedback. “The site lets you offer your feedback to us,” Ernest said. “Based on what you tell us, we will continue to modify and improve the site over the next few months.”

The 511 service has proven to be a valuable source of information on road conditions statewide. The 511 slogan — “Know B 4 U Go” — is a reminder that it is best to get road condition information before you get behind the wheel and start your trip, and to factor in conditions along your travel route and at your destination.

The 511 service in Idaho launched in November 2005. Since then, citizens have accessed the 511 service 41 million times, including 5.6 million times last year.

The system accesses 150 traffic cameras statewide.

Idaho’s system came when the Federal Communications Commission designated 511 as the nation’s traveler information phone number in 2000.

Nearly two dozen enhancements have been made since 511 was unveiled. In addition to four state awards, in 2010 the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recognized the system with a national President’s Transportation Award for Traffic Safety.

511.idaho.gov – Know B4 U Go

New detour planned this week for Salt Lake Interchange project east of Burley

Beginning tomorrow night (Oct. 29) at 10 p.m., a new detour will be in place for motorists heading east on Interstate 84/86 from Burley toward Pocatello. During this time, crews will install new structures to hold overhead signage.

Weather permitting, this temporary traffic pattern is expected to last until 6 a.m. on Wednesday, October 30.

“Unlike previous detours that have been occurring in this area, this portion of construction requires that we direct motorists completely off of the interstate,” said ITD Project Manager Travis Hitchcock. “Directing traffic to Idaho Highway 77 and Idaho Highway 81 will allow for safe installation of the structures without traffic traveling underneath.”

This is part of the Salt Lake Interchange replacement project, underway since May of last year. Construction is scheduled to finish by late 2020.

Drivers should still anticipate reduced speeds through the work zone and pay close attention to signage in place to safely direct motorists through the area.

Wadsworth Brothers Construction, of Draper, Utah is the prime contractor on this project.

 

ITD sets the innovation bar high with second Idaho finals appearance

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) again set the standard for state agencies with a second appearance Oct. 23 in the Idaho Technology Council Innovative Company of the Year awards. ITD remains the only public-service state agency to make the final grouping. Not just once, but twice — 2016 and 2019.

The Power of Ideas celebration honored some of Idaho’s most innovative people and private technology companies.

“The innovative Company of the Year recognition only validates what I discovered my first year working at ITD — that our employees are dedicated to the ITD mission and resourceful and responsible in their use of resources,” said Chief Administrative Officer and ITD Innovation Champion Charlene McArthur. “All we needed was a common language and process to showcase our efforts. That became our innovative effort, Innovate ITD!”

The ITD nomination highlighted some big accomplishments. Since the department launched Innovate ITD five years ago, ITD employees have submitted more than 1,500 ideas and implemented 1,000. Because of those implemented ideas, ITD has saved more than 200,000 hours, found more than 600 improvements for our customers, and re-directed more than $10 million in savings and efficiencies back to critical repairs of the state’s roads and bridges.That main difference between ITD and the private sector really seemed to resonate with the judges and attendees – that the agency’s innovations benefit everyone in the state, not just those who purchase a product.

“This is an employee-driven effort,” said McArthur. “ITD’s innovations are created by our employees, and most of them are created by teams that include front-line employees.”

Idaho’s state transportation system connects people to jobs, education, healthcare, places of worship, cultural and sporting events, recreational opportunities, and family members. It helps ensure security at home and abroad. A strong transportation system is critical to the nation’s and Idaho’s economy. A robust, growing economy requires a strong transportation system.

“Continuous improvement is one of the department’s key strategies to deliver value to the taxpayers,” McArthur explained. “ITD innovation also serves as a performance benchmark for other state agencies in Idaho and Departments of Transportation across the country.”

Drivers can expect increased traffic delays during Salmon Falls Creek Bridge work on US-30

Next Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 30 & 31) the Idaho Transportation Department is planning to place a bridge deck on the newly constructed Salmon Falls Creek Bridge near Banbury Hot Springs in Twin Falls County.

“While the deck is being placed, motorists will encounter longer than normal delays,” says ITD Project Manager Kenny Lively. “Although most construction delays have been minimal, this upcoming work could result in wait times upwards of 30-40 minutes. As such, we are recommending motorists utilize an alternate route during these days.”

Weather permitting, placement of the deck is expected to take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day. In the mornings and evenings, when work is not underway, the area will be open to single lane traffic with a temporary traffic signal in place.

This is part of a larger bridge replacement project that has been underway since June of this year. When completed, the new structure will be both wider and longer – accommodating two 12-foot lanes in each direction, and incorporating a new left-turn lane as well.

Construction on the project is expected to be complete by early summer of next year.

The general contractor is RSCI from Boise.

Star Card media tour generates coverage and awareness about federal deadline requirements for driver’s licenses and IDs across Idaho

Two weeks, seven Idaho counties and countless media interviews later, Star Card awareness was heighted across the state thanks to a joint media campaign with the DMV and sheriff’s offices. The tour was scheduled exactly one year ahead of the nationwide deadline, in which residents will need a Star Card, passport or other compliant-ID to board a plane, or access a federal facility.

As part of a comprehensive campaign, DMV Spokesperson Jennifer Gonzalez joined Sheriffs and driver’s licensing staff during media gatherings in the seven largest counties DMV offices to again highlight the importance of getting a Star Card by Oct. 1, 2020, or get grounded.

For two weeks, multi-media reporters and journalists were able to visit DMV offices in Bonneville, Bingham, Bannock, Twin Falls, Kootenai, Latah and Nez Perce counties, and seek interviews and information in an accessible format. The amount of news coverage this opportunity netted has been nothing short of tremendous. Here is a link to just a handful of the stories that were generated: Local News 8, Coeur D’Alene Press, Post-Register,  KTVB and KREM.

For a full link to everything you need to know about the Star Card, visit itd.idaho.gov/starcard

Eastbound I-90 closed at Lookout Pass; drivers to seek alternate routes to avoid Montana closure

The Idaho Transportation Department has closed Interstate 90 in the eastbound direction at Lookout Pass to allow drivers to turn around and avoid a closure on I-90 in Montana.

Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) closed I-90 at milepost 26 near St. Regis following a semi crash resulting in a hazmat spill early this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 16). One westbound lane is open, but both eastbound lanes are closed. At this time it is not clear when the route will reopen but an extended closure is possible.

Drivers are advised to use US-2 or Idaho Highway 200 to cross into Montana. For travel conditions on Idaho routes, visit 511.idaho.gov. For travel conditions on Montana routes, visit roadreport.mdt.mt.gov.

ITD is in contact with MDT to open the route as quickly and as safely as possible.

Road closure expected Oct. 16 & 17 on US-20 in Camas and Blaine counties

On Wednesday and Thursday (Oct. 16 & 17) the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is planning to close US-20 between mileposts 164 and 173 near Fairfield as crews pave the newly constructed Willow Creek and Rock Creek bridges.

The closure is expected to begin at 11 a.m. and is anticipated to last approximately three hours each day.

This is part of the Willow Creek Bridge and Rock Creek Bridge construction projects underway since April of this year. Crews replaced aging and corroded culverts with new bridge structures, which are expected to have a longer lifespan. It will also allow the streams in both locations to be restored to a more natural condition, which should have a positive effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

“We are making every effort to minimize impacts to motorists in the region,” said ITD south-central Idaho Project Manager Brock Dillé. “With the unexpected drop in temperatures this past month, we have a very narrow window to complete work on these structures. Briefly closing the highway will allow us to work more efficiently, and hopefully prevent us from having to return to the area next year to complete the project.”

ITD will place barricades and signage at area intersections to alert travelers. Flaggers will also be present to inform motorists and assist them with determining the best path of travel.

Knife River is the general contractor for both projects.