Reconstruction of I-90 near Mullan continues

I-90 Mullan

Construction of 1.5 miles of Interstate 90 near Mullan will start the week of April 30 and last until October.

One lane in each direction will remain open at all times during construction.

Last year crews reconstructed 4.5 miles of I-90 between Mullan and the state line. Work this year will extend to the west of that project and be completed fall 2019.

Bridge replacement in Oldtown begins next week

The Idaho Transportation Department will begin construction to replace the bridge between Oldtown, Idaho, and Newport, Washington, that spans the railroad tracks beginning the week of April 30. Completion is scheduled for fall 2019.

The existing bridge, built in 1966, has reached the end of its design life. The new bridge will feature two lanes with a center median, lights and sidewalks.

The bridge will be demolished and rebuilt one half at a time. Traffic will be reduced to one lane across the structure with signals on either end guiding motorists through the work zone. Construction will pause during the winter months and resume in the spring. During that time, both lanes will be open.

Additionally, the intersection of Fourth Street and Idaho Highway 41 near the bridge will be closed for improvements.

Throughout construction, check 511 for the latest impacts.

 

Work on I-90 Blue Creek Bay Bridges east of CDA begins Monday

Blue Creek Bay Bridge

Repair work on the westbound bridge over Blue Creek Bay on Interstate 90 is anticipated to begin Monday, April 23 and last until October. After a winter shutdown, work will begin on the eastbound bridge next spring and continue through the fall.

Work this year will focus on the deck and support structures of the westbound bridge. Traffic will shift to the eastbound bridge and be reduced to one lane in each direction.

Work on the westbound bridge deck will cease this October, but work on the support structures underneath both bridges will continue. Four lanes will be open for traffic during the winter shutdown.

Once work starts on the eastbound bridge, traffic will be reduced to one lane and shifted onto the westbound bridge.

While work is underway, those recreating on the water will be directed away from the construction zone for safety reasons.

To receive periodic updates about this and other projects in the area, send an email to Megan.Sausser@itd.idaho.gov to sign up for the CDA Traffic Impacts e-newsletter. For the most up-to-date information, check 511.idaho.gov.

Pet peeves, anonymous notes and 25 years

Sherry Mundt has a particular pet peeve. She doesn’t like trash, and she really doesn’t like seeing it next to highways.

Her 680-acre farm sits along US-95 just eight miles south of Coeur d’Alene. Situated along a major route for locals and waste management services, she has seen her fair share of waste pile up next to the road.

“I’d be driving to town or heading back home, and I’d notice trash,” Mundt said. “I’d be mentally picking it up while I drove.”

Mundt finds the litter bothersome, and she takes pride in her community. That’s why 25 years ago she became an active participant in the Adopt-A-Highway program—a branch of the Idaho Transportation Department that connects volunteers with supplies and services to reduce trash along highways.

Although Mundt tends to other sections, the one-mile stretch in front of her property is her primary focus. Twice a year she spends 30 hours removing 30-40 bags of litter from that section alone.

Robin Karsann, an Adopt-A-Highway coordinator for North Idaho, said volunteers like Mundt collect enough trash from the area to fill 20 residential garbage trucks every year.

“More than 2,000 volunteers gave nearly 5,000 hours last year,” Karsann said. “That is a significant savings and outstanding benefit to our community.”

Throughout the years, Mundt said she had her own community of cheerleaders. Motorists passing by would honk to show their support and crews with the Idaho Transportation Department would offer assistance.

Then five years ago a new form of support found its way to Mundt’s mailbox. Little notes of gratitude and gift cards signed by neighbors she had yet to meet appeared regularly after her semiannual cleaning sessions.

“I kept them because they were encouraging,” Mundt said. “I’d read them before I signed up for another couple of years. They inspired me to keep doing what I was doing.”

It was not until this last January that Mundt met those neighborhood supporters, Mike and Kathy Barnes from the Mica Flats area, at another community function.

“Turns out they would occasionally take their children out to pick up trash, too,” Mundt said. “They said they wanted their children to learn to be like me.”

Mundt, now in her early 60s, will resign from Adopt-A-Highway duties next April, but she said she does not doubt that her community will continue in her stead.

“The ongoing dedication of community members like Mundt who continue to help keep our highways clean year after year cannot be appreciated enough,” Karsann said.

For anyone who would like to adopt a stretch of highway, there are more than 100 miles still available in North Idaho. Interested volunteers may contact the Coeur d’Alene office at (208) 772-1200 or visit itd.idaho.gov/road-mtce.

Wet Paint: Striping crews hitting the Treasure Valley

Wet Paint Sign

The last pockets of snow are melting off the Boise Foothills – the annual sign that Spring is in full swing in the Treasure Valley. As you begin to de-clutter your garage and spruce up your yard, the Idaho Transportation Department’s Southwest Idaho office is out in force laying fresh paint on faded road stripes.

During these operations, ITD is asking motorists to use extra caution around the striping machines and the wet paint they are applying.

How the Process Works

Striping crews consist of four vehicles.

  • A lead vehicle to warn approaching vehicles of the wet paint ahead
  • A paint truck that applies the paint and reflective beads
  • A crash truck immediately behind the paint truck for protection and to warn motorists of the fresh paint on the road.
  • A trailing truck with a message board to warn motorists of the wet paint and the painting crew working ahead

When weather allows, striping crews will spend the Spring and Summer repainting all of the lane lines on the state highway system in southwest Idaho. The paint truck sprays two different materials almost simultaneously; the paint first and then retro-reflective beads. The combined materials help the lines remain visible under different conditions: daylight, nighttime, or rain.

Once applied, the paint cures quickly. In ideal conditions, it can be as soon as 30 seconds.

What to do if you drive on wet paint

Wet paint is considered a roadway hazard – similar to animals, debris, or potholes. It’s the responsibility of all drivers to look out for these hazards and try to avoid them.

If you do find yourself driving through wet paint and some of it splashes on your car, you can take immediate action to remove it. ITD suggests two options:

  • Test a small, hidden part of your car first to ensure no side-effects to the paint or finish. Spray the painted areas with Pam cooking oil. Let it sit for a few minutes. Spray off with pressure washer.
  • Use a chemical solvent, such as Goof Off (latex). Test a small, hidden part of your car first to ensure no side-effects to the paint or finish. Spray and wipe off small sections at a time. After you wipe off each section wash that section immediately.

 

Improper decision-making was common thread in Idaho’s recent aviation accidents

Idaho’s Division of Aeronautics, in its Idaho Aviation Accident Score Card, found faulty aeronautic decision-making was the common thread for most of the state’s 22 general-aviation accidents. There are numerous aviation safety teachings in the coming year to combat this trend.

Most of the accidents — 68% — occurred during the takeoff or landing phase of flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) categorized 73% of the accidents as “pilot error.” Another 9% were listed as “mechanical/maintenance” accidents. Five percent were “environmental,” another 5% were “unknown,” and 14% are still under investigation.

The report excludes scheduled commercial-airline flights and flight activity performed by the uniformed armed services.

General aviation flying in Idaho can be challenging. Statistics indicate Idaho has traditionally experienced a higher per-capita accident rate than neighboring states. In 2013, the division set a goal of reducing the state general aviation accident rate by half over a five-year period.

The goal is being accomplished through airport standard operating procedures, welcome packets for visiting pilots, fly-in safety briefings, safety seminars, and the annual safety standdown event.

View the 5-year accident bar chart.

The report analyzes aviation accident data from two years prior, in this case 2016. The data comes from the NTSB database. It takes a couple years for investigations to be completed; thus the reason for the two-year lag.

The report includes yearly comparisons and summaries, total number of general aviation accidents, fatal accidents, fatalities, pilot qualifications, and class of aircraft.

“With this data, we can identify a particular area of emphasis when planning workshops and trainings for the next year,” said Idaho Division of Aeronautics’ Jim Hinen, who leads the safety/education unit.

Here are a few of the findings:

– Aircraft accidents decreased from 28 in 2015 to 22 in 2016
– Fatalities resulting from aircraft accidents decreased from 9 in 2015 to 1 in 2016
– Fatal accidents decreased from 4 in 2015 to 1 in 2016

The mission of the Idaho Division of Aeronautics is to promote and foster aviation within the state of Idaho. The Safety/Education unit of the Division supports this mission by providing relevant, high-quality safety information, and education programs for the benefit of stakeholders.

Calendar of coming Idaho Division of Aeronautics safety events
Here are some upcoming safety events:
May 5: Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA) Rusty Pilot Seminar in Boise
May 9: AOPA Collision Avoidance Seminar in Coeur d’Alene
May 16: Pilot Safety Seminar in Twin Falls (with FAA Safety Team)
May 18-19: Pilot Safety Seminar at the Idaho Aviation Expo in Idaho Falls (with FAA Safety Team)
Oct. 26: Certificated Flight Instructor Roundtable in Boise
Oct. 27: Annual Safety Standdown in Boise

The number of general-aviation accidents occurring in neighboring states from highest to lowest:
– Nevada 32
– Washington 31
– Oregon 23
Idaho 22
– Montana 18
– Utah 18
– Wyoming 10

Interstate 84 repaving in Caldwell begins in May; bridge replacement west of Caldwell to be complete this spring

Pavement rehabilitation on Interstate 84 from the Sand Hollow Interchange (exit 17) into Caldwell will begin in May.

The project will extend the life of the interstate and provide a smoother driving surface. During construction, traffic will be shifted into a crossover pattern and speeds will be reduced. Work will include reconstruction of the four ramps at the junction of I-84 and Idaho Highway 44 (exit 25). Paving is scheduled for completion this summer.

This project coincides with the ongoing bridge replacement at the Sand Hollow interchange. Bridge construction will wrap up this summer.

Work will occur during both day and night hours. Motorists are strongly encouraged to slow down and pay attention. Please check 511.idaho.gov for the latest impacts before you head out.

ITD, other community partners in saving lives honored at Donate Life event

Idaho has consistently been one of the top states in the nation when it comes to saying yes to saving lives. These achievements are due in large part to hard work and collaboration. An event celebrating these partnerships and commemorating these successes was held Thursday (April 12) at the Idaho Transportation Department’s Boise office.

Watch a short video of the event

At the event Thursday, the “Yes Idaho” Donate Life Coalition honored local community partners who have been an integral part of saving lives through organ donation. ITD has been crucial in the success of donation in Idaho during the last 20 years through organ donation notifications on drivers licenses.

Many of those partners spoke or were recognized at the event, where the group also unveiled the 2018 Threads of Life Quilt. The quilt was created with individual squares made by people with a personal connection to donation. Many squares honored a loved one who made the decision to donate or to celebrate the life of a transplant recipient.

Community partners recognized included:

The Idaho Transportation Department – Thanks to ITD’s help, the registry grew by 5.2% in 2017, to 64% of the population vs. 2016 census estimate. The national average is 54%. Idaho has 800,000 drivers who chose organ donation on their Idaho licenses.

Senator Lee Heider – Senator Heider has been at advocate for donation for several years. This year, he sponsored two bills related to this topic that became law.
S1249: This legislation instructs institutions of higher education to send a link to the Yes Idaho Donor Registry to their students twice each year.
S1250: Provides for a reminder email to be sent to state employees reminding them that the state of Idaho provides 30 days paid leave for any state employee donating a kidney.

Lillie Kaster — A donor mother who honored the memory of her son by educating the public about the importance of donation. She has reached out to rodeo royalty and recruited ambassadors for donation. They carry a “Yes Idaho” flag in parades while on horseback and speak at public events, sharing the message of donation.

KTVB Channel 7 – The media partner ran a series of stories last spring and four more last fall profiling people and their families touched by organ donation.

There are almost 300 people in Idaho currently waiting for a life-saving transplant. We are very grateful to our community partners for their dedication to saving the lives of those who are waiting. For more information about organ, eye and tissue donation, please log on to the “Yes Idaho” website.

Resurfacing section of ID-62 in north-central Idaho begins April 16

ID-62 Craigmont to Nezperce

Work to resurface Idaho Highway 62 between Craigmont and Nezperce will begin Monday, April 16. Construction will last two months.

Flaggers will facilitate alternating, one-way traffic through the 11-mile construction zone. Travelers can expect reduced speeds and delays up to 15 minutes.

Knife River Corporation will complete the work for $1.7 million.

For the latest construction updates, visit 511. To learn more about other construction projects in the region, find the construction list at the district webpage.

Repairs return to ID-3 north of Kendrick after 2017 slide

Construction will start again on Monday, April 16 to finish repairs to Idaho Highway 3 between Kendrick and Deary.

Flaggers will facilitate alternating, one-way traffic while crews resurface Bear Ridge Grade just north of Kendrick and replace a culvert underneath the highway. Travelers can expect 15-minute delays.

Since the highway was damaged by a landslide last March, crews have constructed a soil nail wall, which was completed in January, to stabilize the slope beneath the highway and prevent future slides. Work over the coming months will conclude repairs.

After work is completed in July, the highway will feature fresh pavement and preventative measures to reduce any further damage from slides.

Knife River Corporation will complete the final round of repairs for a total cost of $3.3 million.