The Idaho Legislature, in 2003, approved the establishment of a 10-year pilot project on segments of select state highways to test the effects of heavier truck/trailer combinations on pavement surfaces, bridges and safety.
Preliminary results, representing the first three years of that study, were reported to the Idaho Transportation Board during its January meeting in Boise this week (Jan. 17). ITD will present those results to the Idaho Legislature, as required, by Jan. 30. Another interim report is due in 2010, and a final report in 2013.
The pilot project allows truck operators to apply for and acquire permits that enable them to transport loads of up to 129,000 gross vehicle weight, in contrast to the 105,500-pound limit statewide.
Some of the findings include: Idaho 24 in District 4 was the highest used route, sugar beets was the most commodity most often transported, and companies participating in the pilot project reported economic savings. The report noted that impacts to safety, pavement conditions, and bridges was difficult to assess because of the short time period to compare data and pavement preservation and bridge rehabilitation projects that had occurred on the routes.
The board approved the three-year report and authorized staff to submit it to the Legislature.
Other board agenda items
Recognition for Service
Frank Bruneel was called upon by the governor in June to serve as chairman during a time of significant transition. Bruneel willingly set aside retirement from public service and private enterprise to accept the position.
The board asked Dwight Bower to return to ITD in September as the interim director following the summer retirement of Dave Ekern. Bower also set aside his retirement from public service and a position in the private sector to assist the board and department during the transition.
Bruneel and Bower played instrumental roles in continuing the department’s mission and operations and went beyond reasonable expectations to represent the board and department throughout the state. The board extended its deepest appreciation for the leadership and service both provided.
Geological information signs
Staff members reported that 11 locations on the state highway system are signed as Geologic Sites and are included in the Historical Marker sign program.
Additionally, a number of sites listed in the Idaho Highway Historical Marker Guide are signed as Historic Sites and could be considered Geologic Sites. Although Montana’s signs have been posted at rest stops, parking areas and pullouts along the highways, none of Idaho’s geology-related signs are located at rest areas. They could be incorporated into rest area projects where suitable in the future.
In the meantime, districts could install geological information signs at safety rest areas and other locations as funds become available or by adjusting their budgets. The estimated cost of installing a geological information sign is between $1,500 and $2,000.
Although no official board action was taken, it was suggested that the Public Affairs Office, which is responsible for the Idaho Highway Historical Marker Guide, contact its partners, such as the Historical Society, to discuss the issue further.