Regardless of how well prepared we are, the first snowstorm of the season always awakens in us a respect for winter conditions and the need for caution while traveling. The first snowfall also serves as a reminder that safety is no accident. We are truly indebted to our fellow workers who rise in the frigid pre-dawn hours to fill their trucks with de-icer and sand before heading out to plow new blankets of snow covering our highways.
Too often those contributions are taken for granted; theirs is a thankless job, generating few words of appreciation and even fewer words of praise. During an especially harsh period between last Christmas and New Year's Day this year, the engines of some snow removal equipment in eastern Idaho were not turned off for days. It was literally a 24/7 operation. Our maintenance personnel were stretched beyond comprehension
Yet, it's a battle that our road warriors train hard to fight. Summer roadeo competition, held in every district, clearly demonstrates the skill level our operators possess.
We can provide the newest equipment and employ the latest in research and technology. But the single most important factor in maintaining the quality of Idaho's highway system - regardless of season or climate - is ITD's maintenance/operations personnel. We live in a high-tech world that provides wonderful tools. But without the operators, those tools would be rendered useless.
Our greatest investment is in their hands their experience their abilities. ITD will continue to provide training opportunities that enable our maintenance/operations staff to improve their professional skills. Increasingly, we look for multitalented individuals who can use the power of technology in construction and winter maintenance, individuals who are motivated to set the standard even higher.
The transportation world is changing; our maintenance/operations personnel are an integral part of that change. Time after time, they have risen to the challenge. They will do so again this winter when weather turns hostile and travel becomes difficult.
On behalf of the Transportation Board, the Executive Team and the citizens of Idaho, I want the department to know how much we value our maintenance/operations workers. As you take pride in your work, we take great pride in you.
Have a safe season.