Idaho Transportation

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Cole introduces new project delivery team
to be co-chaired by Fernandez, Storjohann

ITD Chief Engineer Tom Cole last week announced the creation of a team to improve the project delivery schedule as a way of determining the best timing for scheduling and delivering highway consruction project.
Cole introduced Nestor Fernandez and Andrea Storjohann as co-chairs of the team when he discussed its goals with transportation board members April 15, 16 in Lewiston. The project delivery team will provide ITD with a long-range view and assist with planning efforts.
Joining Fernandez and Storjohann (District 1) on the team are: Walter Burnside, Bill Shaw, Dave Amick, Randy Gill, and Amanda Hoffman from ITD, and John Perry and Jason Giard from the Federal Highway Administration.
The team’s charge is to identify efficiencies in the design process that would result in on-time on-budget delivery. The goal is to deliver 100 percent of the programmed projects by the first of the applicable fiscal year. The major recommendations are to ensure early delivery of projects in the program.
Planning is an important part of the process because projects will need to be integrated with appropriate resources, including coordination with outside agencies.
The second recommendation is to set a new baseline for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), which consists of reviewing all of the projects to ensure they are scheduled appropriately for on-time completion.
The third recommendation is to provide proper tools, such as project management systems and pavement management systems, to ensure the success of the project delivery goal.
The final recommendation is to provide training and support.

Other transportation board discussion

Central-Issuance of Driver’s Licenses
The board approved implementing a central-issuance process (see related story) for driver’s licenses and identification cards. A central-issuance service delivery method eliminates the laminators and printers at county driver licensing offices. An applicant will receive a digital photo receipt that serves as a temporary paper license or identification card until the plastic license or card is delivered through U.S. Mail. The central-issue production site is at the vendor’s secure location in Washington, which is shared by a number of states.
The current licensing equipment at county sheriff’s offices in Idaho is outdated and needs to be replaced, so now is an opportune time to make this change, according to a report from the Division of Motor Vehicles.
Advantages of central-issue include more card security features can be added without an increase in per-card cost; laminators, printers, and cardstock are less subject to theft; applicants must provide a valid address to receive the license or card; and reduced costs, estimated at $240,000 per year. Disadvantages arethat customers will be issued a temporary card or license; there is some loss of departmental control over formatting changes, with costs of up to $120,000 per format change; and card reformatting could affect underlying security features, along with further cost implications.
It will take about one year to switch to the central-issue, allowing time for a public information campaign. Some outreach to sheriffs has been conducted, and to date, there is general support for transition to a central issue.

Safety rest areas
Every year ITD staff members provide an update on the Safety Rest Area and Oasis Partnerships Program. They review the map and plan and present them to the board for approval approval. Only one change was proposed for the 2009 map. The westbound I-84 Cotterell Rest Area had been upgraded to a “Deluxe” facility. District 4 personnel requested changing it back to a “Basic Plus” facility. Improvements aren’t planned for Cotterell until FY 2013.
The board approved the plan that also includes upgrading the Timmerman Rest Area on U.S. 20/Idaho 75 in District 4 in FY09, the Hagerman Rest Area on U.S. 30 in District 4 in FY 2010, and District 6’s Dubois facility on I-15 in FY 2011.
On a related issue, the Nez Perce Tribe proposed establishing a new rest area in District 2. The Tribe recently purchased a fuel station along U.S. 95 near Winchester and plans on expanding the facility. Tribal leaders discussed with District 2 staff members a proposal to jointly operate a truck stop and rest area in the vicinity. Nez Perce leaders requested financial assistance to expand the existing facility to incorporate a rest area. The proposal remains in preliminary stages, so no cost estimates are available yet.
Board members expressed their support of partnerships and earlier approved a similar partnership with Flying J at its truck stop in McCammon. Board members asked the Tribe and District to pursue this partnership and, as plans are refined and cost estimates are known, to bring the proposal back for consideration.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) transit projects
When the Transportation board approved transit projects to be funded with ARRA resources on March 3, neither District 1 nor District 3 had enough projects identified for the funds that they had available. Since then, more than $1.3 million in additional transit projects have been identified for inclusion in the STIP for possible funding with the one-time federal stimulus money.
The board approved the list of projects. Most of District 1’s projects, totaling more than $457,000, are for replacement vehicles for North Idaho Community Express and the Coeur d’Alene Tribe. Some of District 3’s projects are to construct six bus shelters and 500 feet of sidewalk along transit routes in McCall; outreach and marketing to ensure people are aware of mobility options that Treasure Valley Transit (TVT) offers; benches and signs for TVT; and replacement vehicles for TVT, Northwestern Stage Lines, and Salt Lake Express.

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Photos: Nestor Fernandez and Andrea Storjohann

Published 4-24-9