Landscaping adds color to Idaho highways
Idaho Transportation Board members were reminded Sept. 22 that a 21st century highway system consists of more than black asphalt or gray concrete. The system comes in an array of natural colors achieved through a commitment to roadside landscaping.
Dammon Allen, Assistant District 3 Engineer, provided a summary of landscaping projects throughout the state to board members during their final monthly meeting on the road. Spring and summer meetings travel to each district before returning to Headquarters for the remainder of the year.
Allen said the value of landscaping projects vary widely, but generally constitute about one-tenth of a construction project’s total costs.
The Federal Highway Administration mandates that landscape consideration be included on all federal-aid projects, and when certain conditions are met, a minimal degree of landscaping is required.
Since the board was presented two concepts for landscaping along I-84/I-184 in Boise last February, the project has been reduced in scope. A consultant continues to work on this project and anticipates conducting public meetings later this year on landscaping options.
Other board discussion
District 3 tour
The board also viewed sites of proposed major highway projects in the area, including the Idaho 16/ 44 interchange and I-84/Ten Mile Road interchange. It heard about – and saw – continued development in the Treasure Valley.
The tour included a stop at the Orchard maintenance shed. After an overview on the I-84 corridor study, the board visited with maintenance employees and learned about operation issues in the area.
The tour concluded at Headquarters after board members toured the campus and heard presentations about the facilities, proposed extension of 30th Street, which would impact the Headquarters’ complex, and potential developments in the area.
Elk River Back Country Byway designation
The Scenic Byways Advisory Committee, established to provide recommendations about byway proposals, endorsed the backcountry designation.
Department revenue forecast
Gas and special fuel tax revenues comprise more than two-thirds of the revenue to the Highway Distribution Account. If all 1.2 million Idaho registered passenger cars reduced gas consumption by one gallon per week, revenue to the account would decline by $15.6 million annually.
Because money from this account is distributed to other state and local entities, ITD’s annual loss would be $8.9 million.
In FY05, the revenue from gasoline and special fuels taxes was $222 million. The revenue is expected to increase gradually to $240.8 million by FY11.