July 2008 Transporter highlights
Longer days, fewer trips an option worth considering in battle against high gas prices, pollution
Garry Young, manager of Idaho’s Scenic Byway program, only comes to work four days a week – but he’s still a full-time ITD employee.
Like a number of other transportation department employees, Young works four 10-hour shifts each week, saving time, money and gas. He is an example of how efficiently the governor’s suggested trip reduction plan can work.
Long commutes and four-day weeks aren’t new to Young, who works in the Division of Transportation Planning and Programming. Before moving to sparsely populated Owyhee County in 2001, he commuted four days a week from Kooskia, a one-way sojourn of about 240 miles. When he moved to a 1.5-acre farm next to Givens Hot Springs, he reverted to five eight-hour days because of administrative priorities.
But envisioned a day when he could return to a four-day schedule.
That came more than a year ago when he persuaded his supervisors at Headquarters that reduced driving would improve the environment and allow him more time at home and in his modest garden. Truly a win and a win.
Weeklong camp helps teens get feet off the ground ACE academy
provides introduction to aviation
Eighteen-year-old Alex Lilly probably doesn’t think much about being multi-modal. The 2008 Kuna High School graduate just “likes anything that moves.”
His grandfather founded a number of yacht clubs; his father is a private pilot. And Lilly talks lovingly to his classic Pontiac GTO muscle car to keep it running. Last week he took his life-in-motion to new heights when he joined a dozen other teenagers in learning aviation from the ground up at the annual Aviation Career Exploration academy.
ITD’s Division of Aeronautics sponsors the annual weeklong, hands-on introduction to aviation. High school students from throughout the state assemble for a variety of fun, educational experiences. Most of this year’s class came from the Treasure Valley.
Caldwell to celebrate completion of interchange; public dedication planned
About a year and a half after reconstruction of the Franklin Interchange in Caldwell began, a dedication ceremony with local and state leaders will celebrate its completion Tuesday (July 8). The old two-lane overpass, built in 1966, has been replaced with a four-lane roadway that has dual left and dual right turn lanes. The new interchange ramps are longer and wider to accommodate more traffic at the busy intersection.
Crews embarked on the reconstruction in December 2006. The rebuilt interchange nearly doubles the capacity of the overpass (from the current 17,700 vehicles per day to a an anticipated 29,500 vehicles per day), eases congestion on interchange ramps and improves access to Caldwell from I-84.
The new overpass has two through-lanes in both directions and dual left-turn lanes in both directions.
Ramps were lengthened and widened to two lanes at their intersection with Franklin. The project also involved widening Franklin Road from two to five lanes between the overpass and Specht Avenue. The new road will have curbs, gutters, sidewalks and a bicycle lane.
Governor, ITD schedule statewide conferences to gather public input on transportation funding
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and the Idaho Transportation Department will launch a series of statewide meetings – Building Roads, Building Bridges, Building Consensus – Monday to ask the public how best to pay for repairing, maintaining and improving the state’s crumbling roads and bridges.
The first meeting will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. A brief introduction to the funding challenges will be presented at 4:15 p.m., 5:15 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. in the Simplot Dining Hall’s Fireside Room. Gov. Otter will lead the presentation at 4:15 p.m.
Other meetings are scheduled in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday (July 16); Lewiston on Thursday (July 17); Idaho Falls, July 22; Pocatello, July 23; and Twin Falls, Aug. 5.
In addition to the public meetings from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., the governor’s staff and transportation department officials will meet at each location with area legislators and other local elected officials, business and industry leaders and local highway district representatives.
Social networking sites can lead teens into deep water; parents must maintain constant vigil
No responsible parent would hand a blank check to his or her 14-year-old with instructions to go anywhere they want, spend as long as they like and engage in intimate discussions with anyone they meet, including total strangers.
Yet millions of young teenagers walk through that open door every day on Web sites that encourage social interaction. Far too often, teens reveal more personal information about themselves on the Web than they would ever consider disclosing in person to a stranger.
And far too often, there are unscrupulous people on the other end – from predators, to scam artists and unsolicited sales pitches – ready to take advantage of the innocent exchanges.
Jared Olson, an Idaho prosecuting attorney who specializes in drug cases, demonstrated to ITD employees recently how easy it is to research and track down teenagers who use social networking sites. He delivered two presentations at the nearly full Headquarters auditorium.
Olson showed how teens use such Web sites to locate drinking and drug parties and arrange illicit rendezvous.
DMV wins two awards for safety messages from national motor vehicles organization
Two poignant safety messages earned Idaho’s Division of Motor Vehicles top honors in regional competition sponsored by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.
ITD received PACE (Public Affairs and Consumer Education) awards for an externally produced television public service announcement that emphasized motorcycle safety. The PSA, titled “Think,” shows a driver pulling onto a highway from a side street and being struck broadside by a motorcycle.
The message is to look twice in each direction before entering a highway because motorcycles sometimes are difficult to see.
Several states have requested copies of the PSA and are considering it for promotion of motorcycle safety.
Governor's transportation funding conference generating crowds, public input
How would you fund construction and maintenance of nearly 12,000 lane miles of highway and more than 4,000 bridges at a time when revenue is flat, inflation is skyrocketing and demand is unprecedented?
Idaho citizens, elected officials and local highway administrators in Caldwell, Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston considered the challenge this week during the first three of six statewide transportation revenue conferences.
Idaho Gov. CL. “Butch” Otter and his staff joined ITD representatives in giving formal presentations during daylong sessions andconcluding each of the three conferences with public meetings.
The response clearly indicates that Idaho citizens are aware of the funding crisis and are willing to help arrive at a solution. The Forum on Transportation Investment concluded in 2006 that Idaho has an estimated annual shortfall of about $200 million. It was adjusted to about $240 million more than a year. Hyper inflation continues to push the shortfall even higher.
Unique Canyon Creek Bridge awarded national honor
Nearly a decade ago, District 6 engineers stood on one side of the pristine Canyon Creek canyon and looked at the other. Their dilemma was how to best replace an aging three-span deck truss, built in 1932, with a new 375-foot steel structure.
They chose an unbalanced three-span steel girder bridge with spans of about 79 feet on both ends and a 217-foot center span. Then they set out to build a modern bridge over the environmentally sensitive canyon on Idaho 33. To protect the canyon’s natural qualities, no access was allowed below the rim and disturbance to the canyon was required to be minimal.
The result is an award-winning bridge, designed in-house, that preserved the unique qualities of the canyon yet serves the needs of rural and agricultural traffic. Built by Sletten Construction Co. of Great Falls, Mont., the bridge recently received a 2007 Merit Award in the “medium span” category from the American Institute of Steel Construction based in Chicago. The Canyon Creek Bridge was featured, along with other award winners, in a recent edition of Modern Steel Construction magazine.
Division of Aeronautics, Department of Correction
train on the transport of special incident teams
When an event at one of Idaho’s correctional facilities exceeds the ability of responding locally, specially trained and equipped experts may be needed from outside the area. ITD has agreed to commit state aircraft to transport the equivalent of a SWAT team to a correctional facility during extreme circumstances, said Mike Pape, director of Flight Operations at the Division of Aeronautics.
“Much like the Idaho State Police SWAT team, the Department of Correction must be able to respond to emergencies at correctional facilities around the state. Each section of the state has a small team that is responsible for containing riots, hijackings, hostage situations, etc., at the correctional facilities in their own area,” Pape said.
The IDOC Emergency Response Team and ITD’s flight operations personnel participated in a joint training seminar today (July 25) at Aeronautics to learn about locations of airports near correctional facilities and other issues related to carrying special equipment.
Large overhead conveyor delivers material to I-84 median without impacting traffic
If you’ve driven east from Canyon County toward Boise recently, you’ve probably seen the big white “Knife River” tube running across Interstate 84 between the median and the right shoulder.
It is a behemoth, just 17 feet off the ground. Spanning 124 feet with a mouth six feet in diameter, the tube serves as a massive conveyor, delivering materials to the work area for the Meridian to Garrity widening project under way. The tube is expected to be in place through mid-August, although the widening project will continue until 2010.
When complete, the reconstructed interstate below the tube will have three lanes and a median barrier between Nampa and Meridian. Combined, interstate will have six lanes in the area. The I-84, Garrity to Meridian project is expected to cost approximately $113 million.