Idaho Transportation

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Boise, ID 83707
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Five projects honored for Transportation Excellence

The Idaho Transportation department paid homage Thursday to some of the state’s most successful transportation-related projects and most of the recipients were family members.

Two of the Excellence in Transportation awards acknowledged extraordinary work in public participation – I-84, Cole to Broadway Soundwalls and I-84, Broadway to Eisenman rehabilitation. Other awards were given for transportation planning, environmental stewardship and construction.

The one-hour ceremony included a welcome by Nestor Fernandez, opening remarks by
District 3 board member and vice-chairman Monte McClure, an introduction by Director Pam Lowe and the presentation of awards by retiring Chief Engineer Steve Hutchinson.

Recipients submitted a summary of a public transportation improvement or project completed within the last three calendar years and focused on innovations, context sensitive solutions, public involvement, partnerships, quality of experience and safety factors.

“The state of Idaho and its citizens are truly indebted to these award recipients for their dedication and willingness to go above and beyond the standards of design to enhance our transportation systems for the benefit of all,” according to the program announcement.

Award winners

Transportation Planning (large)
Project: Interactive STIP CD
Submitted by: ITD Division of Transportation Planning and Programming
Principal participants: Sonna Lynn Fernandez, Nathan Hesterman, Cargie Aitchison, Rik Hinton

The transportation department launched the interactive Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) on its Web site in December 2007. The STIP also was produced in a CD format. Both the Web site ( ) and the CD include innovative features designed to assist ITD staff and residents to navigate freely through the document and overcome the hurdles generally associated with obtaining transportation program and project information.

The STIP Web site and CD enable users to access a variety of links to other important documents, specified project information other Web sites and give users the ability to directly e-mail questions / comments to appropriate staff. The interactive STIP CD is more than just a document; it is an integrated process for transportation planning and project selection. It was developed through a coordinated process involving a number of individuals statewide.


Environmental Stewardship (large)
Project: Project Level Air Quality (PLAQ) Screening and Analysis
Submitted by: Federal Highway Administration – Idaho Division
Principal participants: Scott Fry, Roy Jost, Greg Vitley, Jorge Garcia

Analysis criteria and procedures for the Project Level Air Quality Screening and Analysis document were established in 2001 to provide designers and environmental planners a tool for “evaluating and documenting project-level air quality impacts of highway projects.”

Major updates to the policy manual address and refine the current carbon monoxide screening criteria as well as the evaluation of particulate matter and mobile source air toxics.

The result of the interagency effort has been development of a comprehensive guidance document on the assessment, evaluation and documentation of project level air quality issues and impacts for transportation projects in Idaho. The latest update of the PLAQ is expected to lead to faster and more effective assessment and evaluation of projects for air quality, thus allowing ITD to better prioritize its time and resources.


Public participation (large)
Project: I-84, Cole to Broadway Soundwalls
Submitted by: J-U-B Engineers/The Langdon Group
Principal participants: Stephanie Bennett (Langdon), Darla Christiansen (Langdon), Lance Giles (Connecting Idaho Partners), Gary Groff (CIP), Chas Filanowicz (CIP), Andre LaBonty (CIP)

The soundwall project is the result of an extensive study of I-84 and is an important enhancement to the corridor that will improve the quality of life for neighbors of the interstate.

The project team used an innovative approach to gather and distribute information to the public. The Langdon Group took the meetings to the public to gather input on the project. Staff set up all of the materials typically found at a public meeting and displayed them in parks and parking lots. Meetings drew large participation and built project awareness with residents and the community.

Life-size soundwall renderings, printed on vinyl sheeting, were displayed at meetings to convey size and texture of walls. Additional displays were created to illustrate the possible heights of the wall at 10, 14 and 22 feet, depending on whether backyards were higher or lower than the adjacent interstate. Based on public input, Ashlar Slate was selected as the soundwall surface.

The project team also worked closely with neighborhood associations and stakeholders to help identify issues and concerns needing to be addressed by the design team.


Public participation (large)
Project: I-84, Broadway to Eisenman
Submitted by: Connecting Idaho Partners
Principal participants: Patrick Trueba, Lance Giles, Mollie McCarty (ITD), Reed Hollinshead (ITD), Rosemary B. Curtin (RBCI), Kay Lynn Brown (RBCI)

Rehabilitation of a 6.12-mile segment of I-84 in east Boise represented the first GARVEE-funded project in the Treasure Valley. It involved rehabilitating the interstate in both directions between the Broadway and Eisenman Road interchanges. Construction required closures of three major access points for several trucking and manufacturing facilities, the valley’s largest private employer, the state’s largest university and approximately 41,000 daily commuters.

The public information strategy was developed to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible, lessen impacts on business communities, reduce interruptions for emergency service providers and avoid public controversy.

To communicate rapidly changing and complex information to commuters and businesses, the project team developed a proactive outreach process, disseminating information quickly and efficiently. The process included:

  • An initial list of 400 affected businesses
  • An option for concerned parties to receive direct e-mail updates, of which 279 parties took advantage
  • A free promotional car air freshener that also promoted ITD’s 511 Traveler Services program to obtain project information

The information campaign also included public meetings, a weekly bulletin, a Web site, radio ads and other varied media.


Construction (large)
Project: U.S. 95, Setters to Belgrove
Submitted by: CH2M HILL
Principal participants: Dick Jacobson, Damon Allen (ITD), Marvin Fenn (ITD), Randy Hirst (ITD), Max J. Kuney Construction, S.A. Gonzales

The complex project realigned a 7.5-mile segment of U.S. 95 between Setters and Bellgrove through challenging terrain. It included replacing a narrow, winding two-lane highway with a four-lane divided highway and construction of three new bridges. CH2M HILL provided development services.

One of the innovative features of the project was the accelerated embankment construction around a Union Pacific Railroad crossing, which had soft, saturated soils. A staged embankment with the use of wick drains underneath was specified to expedite settlement in the area. Vibrating wire piezmoters and settlement plates were used to monitor the amount of settling.

More than 2.2 million cubic meters of material was excavated during the project. And a three-span 700-foot bridge was constructed on a curve and includes built-in automatic de-icing technology.

The realignment project was completed during six-month construction windows that were subject to harsh northern Idaho winters. Highly erodible slopes were stabilized with natural rock mulch to enhance vegetation growth and prevent erosion.

Other 2008 award nominations

CH2M HILL: Rainbow Bridge restoration project
COMPASS: High-volume intersection study
Connecting Idaho Partners: I-84, Eagle westbound off-ramp project
ITD Division of Aeronautics: Airport maintenance program
ITD/CH2M HILL: U.S. 95, Worley to Mica Corridor
Lynda Friesz Public Relations, Inc.: I-84, Orchard to Gowen
RBCI: Ten Mile Interchange project

Published 6-27-8