Retired ITD engineer Jim Pline
Jim Pline, whose contributions to the engineering profession date back more than 50 years to 1954, was named to the Idaho Engineering Hall of Fame and was appropriately honored during the organization’s annual meeting recently in Boise.
Pline retired after 35 years from ITD as the roadway design supervisor at Headquarters in 1987, culminating a distinguished career that began as an Engineer in Training (construction) in Kooskia. He served three years in the Air Force as a civil engineer before returning to the EIT track in materials and traffic in Boise.
He also served as a traffic technician, associate traffic engineer, assistant state traffic engineer, assistant district engineer, state traffic engineer, environmental and corridor planning supervisor, concept review supervisor and finally roadway design supervisor (1983-1987).
Pline, 76, graduated from the University of Idaho with a civil engineering degree in 1954 and four years later earned a certificate in traffic engineering from Yale University and also holds a master’s degree in public administration from Boise State University. He also attended the Air Force Air Command and Staff College and the Air Force Air War College.
Following his retirement from ITD, Pline remained active in engineering as a consultant. He supported the Idaho chapter of the Institute of Traffic Engineers by matching contributions to the scholarship fund up to $1,000.
He received nearly a dozen awards from ITE and has contributed to a variety of professional publications, including the Traffic Engineering Handbook and the Traffic Control Devices Handbook. In 2004 he became an honorary member of the national committee on Uniform Traffic Control Devices and earned the American Society of Civil Engineers history and heritage award from the southwest Idaho chapter.
The retired ITD engineer has been a member and served as chairman of a number of research panels for the Transportation Research Board (TRB), was a member of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) traffic engineering subcommittee and the International Commission on Illumination.
When television production company 44 Blue wanted to find an expert in the design of safe emergency escape ramps, producers went to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, which in turn summoned Pline.
No one better to explain how to design and build escape ramps than Pline, who, as a consultant, has helped clients with traffic studies and has traveled nationwide as an expert witness in legal cases.
His call to be an expert in escape ramp design was a first.
Producers met with Pline in March 2007 on a snow-covered hill above Horseshoe Bend to look at one of about two-dozen ramps in Idaho. After a local independent film crew documented their conversation, the entourage returned to ITD Headquarters for several hours of interviews in the department’s video studio.
The final product was scheduled to air on the Discovery Channel’s “Survive This,” a series dedicated to individuals who were involved in near-death events and lived to tell about it.