The Idaho Transportation Board voted to remove the word “acting” from Steve Hutchinson’s title Thursday, formally awarding him the position of Chief Engineer and Division of Highways Administrator. He has served in the position on an interim basis since the retirement of Jim Ross in December.
Hutchinson began his career with ITD nearly 33 years ago, working in the Rupert Residency of District 2 (now District 4). He was involved in all facets of highway construction techniques, including a research project on pavement restoration and a study of the impacts of Interstate 84 on the migration of mule deer in southern Idaho.
He moved to the district office a year later and worked with staff in Design, Materials and Maintenance. Hutchinson left his handprint on one of Idaho’s most visible structures while working in the district – he spent six months inspecting steel components of the Perrine Bridge at Twin Falls.
His long and distinguished career led him back to Headquarters in 1998 when he was promoted to Assistant Chief Engineer (Development). In that capacity, Hutchinson was responsible for Roadway Design, Environmental, Right of Way and Bridge Design. He also worked will all six districts and Headquarters to introduce a streamlining development process. He played a major role in the Division of Highway’s quality management team that facilitated process improvement.
Hutchinson served as Acting Chief Engineer for six months in 2003 after Ross was appointed interim director during the search for a permanent director. He returned to that role when Ross retired.
The new chief engineer’s career path included assignments at Headquarters in 1976 when he served on a special assignment to manage implementation of the Maintenance Management System statewide. He worked in Headquarters Maintenance and Operations management as coordinator in the development of the Equipment Management system and assisted in the development of Operations Management systems. He also was Section Manager for three years (1982-1985).
He became Project Development Engineer for District 3 in July 1985, managing the state’s largest design/location section and largest program. Major projects included work on the Cole/Overland Interchange, the Karcher Interchange and Horseshoe Bend Hill.
Hutchinson was promoted to Assistant District Engineer (Operations) at District 3 in July 1987, a position he held for a decade. He managed Maintenance and Construction for the district. During his tenure there, the district added a new residency and negotiated an agreement with Ada County Highway District to inspect its federal aid projects. Major ITD projects included the reconstruction of I-84 between Mountain Home and Hammett, Construction of the Connector (I-184) in Boise, the Eagle Road Interchange and the I-84 Cole/Overland Interchange.
He also worked closely with Maintenance in response to the devastating floods of December 1996 and January 1997.
As Roadway Design Engineer at Headquarters (1997-1998) he provided policy and procedure oversight for design activities statewide. He worked closely with Highway Programming to develop procedures to enhance fiscal emphasis on programming.
His new appointment is effective immediately.