Full road closures on ID-55 Smiths Ferry project begin March 15

Spring construction picks back up on Idaho Highway 55 between Smiths Ferry and the Rainbow Bridge Monday, March 15. The Idaho Transportation Department’s project will widen shoulders, add guardrail, and straighten this curvy one-mile stretch of highway to improve safety. Watch the video below to see the project.


Earlier this month, crews removed snow and set up construction equipment in the canyon. Starting March 15, travelers should plan for full road closures Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., due to controlled rock blasting needed to widen the road. When ID-55 is not closed, there will be one-way alternating traffic with 15-minute delays. This work schedule is expected through May, when crews will transition into summer operations.

To stay up to date and learn more, visit the project website itdprojects.org/ID55smithsferry.


Check out the new Idaho 511

New & Improved 511 Road Report

Idaho 511 is a valuable resource for travelers all year long, and now our newest version of the website has officially launched! Take some time to get familiar with the layout and check out the features.

Head to 511.idaho.gov to try out the latest Idaho 511. Your favorite features from our “Full Featured” website are all still there, including the cameras, road reports, traffic speeds, and more. However, now you will find them listed in the layers menu on the right side of your screen. Check the boxes next to your preferred map icons to turn them on, and uncheck the boxes to turn map icons off.

New map layers include Waze Reports, which are citizen road reports from Waze App users, as well as a variety of weather related options. Putting a checkmark in the Weather Radar box for example, will show you where precipitation is falling across the state.

On the left side of your screen (or below on a phone or tablet) severe weather cameras and critical events, road closures, or blockages are displayed as they are happening. These give you an instant look at current situations statewide that may have direct impact on your travel.

With a Your 511 personalized account, you can also choose to save your favorite cameras now, in addition to your favorite routes and places. And when zoomed out on the map, multiple cameras or events in one specific area will group together to display in a “cluster.” This grey or green circle shows the number of cameras or events. Simply click on the circle and the map will automatically zoom in to that area.

“We are excited to update our technology and still give travelers the user friendly Idaho 511 they are used to,” said ITD Travel Services Coordinator Tony Ernest. “Since late 2019, we’ve asked 511 users to test the new site and provide feedback. This input has helped our development team immensely in making sure drivers have easy access to the resources they need.”

Commercial truck drivers will no longer need a separate version of Idaho 511. The improved Idaho 511 features a Commercial Vehicle tab that selects appropriate trucking related map layers like Restrictions, Truck Ramp locations, and Weigh Stations.

Our “Streamlined” low bandwidth version of Idaho 511 will stick around for a little while longer, but get ready for that page to retire in late spring. Start using the new Idaho 511 now so you’re prepared!

Click here to visit the new Idaho 511.

Interagency Working Group for Public Transportation to meet March 10

Valley Ride Bus

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Interagency Working Group for Public Transportation (IWG) will hold its first meeting of 2021 on Wednesday, March 10. The meeting will take place online via Webex from 1 – 3 p.m.

Subsequent IWG meetings are scheduled for June 22, September 28, and December 14 online.

The IWG advises and assists ITD in analyzing public transportation needs, identifying areas for coordination, and developing strategies for eliminating procedural and regulatory barriers to coordination at the state level. The group is made up of representatives from more than 10 different Idaho state agencies.

Meeting agendas, minutes, and scheduled dates are located on the ITD Public Transportation website, itd.idaho.gov/pt, under the “Advisory” tab.

Those interested in attending the March meeting may call in using the details below. For more information, please contact ITD’s Public Transportation Office at (208) 334-8533.

Join from the meeting link

Join by meeting number
Meeting number (access code): 177 580 1979
Meeting password: tqJvG2jjB75

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0003 US Toll
1-844-740-1264 USA Toll Free

Star Card – Idaho’s REAL ID deadline approaching

Star Card

UPDATE 4/27/2021 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has provided another REAL ID deadline extension to May 3, 2023.


Seven months ahead of the federally mandated deadline, the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles continues to raise awareness of the importance of obtaining a Star Card – Idaho’s REAL ID. Beginning October 1, 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will require a Star Card, U.S. passport, military ID, or other REAL ID compliant identification, to board a commercial flight and enter a federal facility.

Currently 465,563 of 1.25 million licensed drivers in Idaho have a Star Card. Two years ago in February 2019, just 70,000 Idahoans had obtained their Star Card.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of planning ahead and updating your driver’s license to a Star Card today,” said DMV Administrator Alberto Gonzalez. “We are pleased to see the number of people getting the Star Card increasing, but now is not the time to slow down. Our goal is 100% awareness, so no one is unexpectedly forced to miss a vacation or unplanned, last minute trip this fall.”

Last spring, the original October 2020 federal deadline was extended one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal remains the same—ensuring all Idahoans are aware that while getting a Star Card is not mandatory, without it, you will have to provide a passport or other form of REAL ID to fly in the United States.

“Our TSA officers are reminding people of the new requirements as they are traveling,” said TSA Idaho Federal Security Director Andy Coose. “Signs are up at airport security warning of the October deadline, and when a TSA officer meets a traveler without a star on their ID, they make sure to tell the passenger to get a REAL ID compliant driver’s license or other identification so they don’t have trouble getting onto a plane after October 1.”

The Star Card has been available in Idaho since 2018. During this time, the Idaho DMV has informed Idahoans of the upcoming federal REAL ID requirement through courtesy renewal notice reminders, various advertising campaigns, sports partnerships, and a public service announcement featuring Governor Brad Little, among other educational videos and presentations.

The transaction requires an in-person visit to a county driver’s license office and additional documents. The Idaho DMV strongly encourages Idahoans use the “Add the Star” tool at itd.idaho.gov/starcard to learn what specific documents are needed, as they can vary depending on each person’s situation. More information, frequently asked questions, and driver’s license office locations can also be found online.

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 as a result of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that the government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver’s licenses.” The Act established minimum security standards for state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards, and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards from states that do not meet these standards, for official purposes.

ITD’s Public Transportation Office seeks District 1 & District 4 representatives to help shape transit’s future

This is a pivotal and challenging time in the world of public transportation in Idaho. Citizens have the opportunity to help shape what Idaho’s transit future will look like!

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is seeking representatives for District 1 and District 4 to serve on the Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC).

The individual selected for District 1 will represent Bonner, Boundary, Shoshone, Kootenai, and Benewah counties. The individual selected for District 4 will represent Blaine, Camas, Lincoln, Twin Falls, Jerome, Gooding, Cassia, and Minidoka counties.

The PTAC was created to advise the ITD Board on issues related to public transportation in Idaho. It is composed of six members, one representing each of ITD’s administrative districts.

Those interested in applying can find the application form at itd.idaho.gov/pt under the “Advisory” tab. Then, click on either the “District 1 PTAC Application” or the “District 4 PTAC Application” link. Applications will be accepted through April 4. A 30-day public comment period on the candidates will occur starting shortly thereafter.

For more information about PTAC or the application, contact the ITD Public Transportation Office at (208) 334-8533, or email Shauna.Miller@itd.idaho.gov

Public Transportation Advisory Council to meet February 9

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) will have its first meeting of 2021 on Tuesday, February 9. The meeting will be held online via Webex from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Subsequent PTAC meetings are scheduled for June 10 and September 23.

The council is made up of six members representing each of the ITD districts. They work together to identify public transportation needs, plan activities, and promote coordinated transportation systems throughout Idaho. The PTAC also discusses funding programs available to transit providers, and advises the ITD Board with public transportation related recommendations.

Meeting agendas and minutes are located on the ITD Public Transportation website, itd.idaho.gov/pt, under the “Advisory” tab.

Those interested in attending the February meeting may call in using the details below.

For more information, contact the ITD Public Transportation Office at (208) 334-8533.

Join from the meeting link

Join by meeting number
Meeting number (access code): 133 108 6189
Meeting password: j5hAbKVm5k8

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0003 US Toll
1-844-740-1264 USA Toll Free

ITD and law enforcement agencies partner to prevent aggressive driving

The Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety (OHS) and more than 50 law enforcement agencies across the state are teaming up to keep Idaho roads safe. February 1-15, officers will be on the roads looking for aggressive drivers.

Aggressive driving is a contributing factor in half of all crashes in Idaho. According to preliminary data, aggressive driving was a factor in 78 fatal crashes in the state during 2020.

“Aggressive driving crashes don’t happen by accident,” said OHS Manager John Tomlinson. “Someone made that choice. We all have the power to help prevent crashes by deciding to slow down and have patience behind the wheel.”

Aggressive driving happens when a driver operates a vehicle in a way that endangers other people or property on the roads. It’s a series of behaviors that includes speeding, following another driver too closely, weaving in and out of traffic, running red lights, and ignoring other traffic signs.

As winter weather impacts the area, officers will also be watching for those driving too fast for the conditions. When roads are slick, leave more space between you and the vehicle ahead to give yourself plenty of stopping room. Take extra caution while passing.

“Each driver has the responsibility to stay aware and engaged any time they get behind the wheel. Together we can save lives, if we make the choice to drive well,” Tomlinson said.

For more information on aggressive driving, visit shift-idaho.org/aggressive-driving.

ITD and AGC announce Excellence in Construction Partnering Award winners

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the Idaho Associated General Contractors (AGC) announced the winners of the Excellence in Construction Partnering Awards at the ITD monthly board meeting Thursday, Dec. 17. 

The Excellence in Construction Partnering Awards recognize outstanding partnering efforts between ITD employees and the contractor community. Good construction project partnering results in the delivery of quality projects, on time and within budget, which benefits Idaho travelers and taxpayers overall. 

The inaugural awards competition was announced in October as a joint collaboration between ITD Chief Operations Officer Dan McElhinney and Wayne Hammon, CEO of the Idaho Associated General Contractors. Applicants were encouraged to submit for construction contracts underway today and those built within the last three years. 

The applications were reviewed by a judging panel of state and local partners and evaluated on criteria related to how well the project: 

  • Resolved conflict 
  • Improved communication on the project with all audiences 
  • Utilized innovative solutions 
  • Incorporated team building activities 
  • Honored stakeholders 
  • Achieved a common goal 

The winners, announced at the ITD monthly board meeting this December, were recognized for earning gold, silver, bronze and honorable mention awards.

A rockslide blocks US-95 near Riggins in July 2020.

One project was unanimously selected as the ‘Top Gold’ award winner, for its outstanding partnering efforts and uniquely difficult circumstance—the rockslide removal and rock blasting project on US-95 following a rockslide near Riggins in July 2020.

Below is a comprehensive list of the 2020 Excellence in Construction Partnering Award winners: 

Top Gold Award: Scarsella Bros. Inc. & ITD District 2
US-95 Rockslide Removal and Rock Blasting Project

Gold Award: N.A. Degerstrom Inc. & ITD District 1
I-90 Pennsylvania Ave Overpass Bridge Replacement Project

Gold Award: Cannon Builders & ITD District 5
I-15 Northgate Interchange Project

Gold Award: Concrete Placing Company Inc. & ITD District 3 & Ada County Highway District
Cloverdale Road Overpass Bridge Replacement Project

Gold Award: Bros. Inc. & ITD District 1
Junction SH-53 Interchange UPRR Bridge Project

Gold Award: Westing Construction Inc. & ITD District 4
Raft River Bridge Eastbound and Westbound Lanes Project

Gold Award: West Construction Inc. & Local Highway Technical Assistance Council
Old Highway 37 The Narrows Project

Silver Award: Poe Asphalt Paving Inc. & District 2
Webb Road to Aspen Lane Pavement Project 

Silver Award: Idaho Materials & Construction & ITD District 4
US-93 200 South Road 4-Lane Widening Project 

Silver Award: Knife River Corporation & ITD District 4
US-20 Willow Creek and Rock Creek New Bridges Project 

Silver Award: Idaho Materials & Construction & ITD District 3 & Costco
US-20/26 Costco Public Road Improvements Project 

Silver Award: Knife River Corporation & ITD District 3
I-84 Blacks Creek Road Interchange Reconstruction Project 

Bronze Award: Central Paving Company Inc. & District 3
US-95 Elephant Butte Swelling Clays Highway Reconstruction Project 

Bronze Award: Wadsworth Construction & ITD District 3
SH-55 Snake River Bridge Replacement Project 

Honorable Mention: Western Construction Inc. & ITD District 4
I-84 Jerome Interchange to Twin Falls Interchange Project 

Honorable Mention: Concrete Placing Company Inc. & ITD District 3
I-84 Northside Blvd to Franklin Blvd Project 

Honorable Mention: DePatco Inc. & ITD District 6
US-20 Ashton Hill Bridge to Dumpground Road Project 

Honorable Mention: Mountain West Electric Inc. & ITD District 6
D8 Signals Project 

The goal of the awards is to increase awareness about partnering efforts by recognizing team solutions, sharing lessons learned, and highlighting best practices for infrastructure projects of all types and sizes 

“Construction partnering on projects is just good business,” McElhinney said. “ITD and the AGC value project partnering to help complete transportation projects across Idaho in a timely, professional, and responsive manner.” 

2020 Excellence in Construction Partnering Award Winning Entries

Idaho Ready: What you need to know about the chain up law

In extreme winter weather, chains can be a helpful tool to keep you safe while driving on slushy or snow covered roads. But are they required in Idaho?

Idaho’s chain up law does not apply to most drivers on the road, or even most places you drive.

The law only applies to commercial vehicles over 26,000 pounds on mountain passes, most notably on I-90 east of Coeur d’Alene and on US-12 at the Montana border.

This can be confusing, as chain laws vary by state. Neighboring states, like Washington, may require passenger vehicles without AWD or four-wheel drive use chains during the harshest of conditions.

In Idaho, chains are only required when conditions will prevent large vehicles from traversing grades without them, and the requirement is lifted as soon as possible to limit damage to the road. Operators with the Idaho Transportation Department activate special roadside signs alerting truck drivers to chain up as needed during the winter.

Some commercial vehicles, like logging trucks, tow trucks, and school buses are exempt from the law.

If the chain up law is in effect, then all drivers should be prepared for snowy conditions. Stay on top of road conditions or closures by visiting 511.idaho.gov or downloading the Idaho 511 app.


Idaho Ready: Pack your winter car emergency kit

Winter weather has arrived in Idaho and it’s time to be Idaho Ready on the road. One way you can do that? Keep an emergency kit in your car this winter.

You want to be prepared for anything that comes your way, so here are a few things you should always have with you when traveling.

  • Flashlight — make sure the batteries work
  • Jumper cables — in case your car won’t start, or maybe you need to help someone else
  • Kitty litter can give you some traction if your tires are spinning on ice
  • Chains
  • Small shovel to dig out around your tires or tailpipe
  • Flares and a first aid kit
  • Food and water — pack high protein snacks that will fill you and your family up for a while
  • Anything to keep you warm — a blanket or a small sleeping bag, winter coat, gloves, hat, and waterproof boots
  • Ice scraper

If you run off the road, break down, or simply get stuck during a storm, these items will help keep you warm and safe until help arrives. Remember, always let someone know about your travel plans, especially if you’ll be driving through areas with no cell service. Check the latest road conditions at 511.idaho.gov before you leave.