Board plans workshop to discuss resource allocation;
business meeting, District 3 tour to follow
The Idaho Transportation Board will begin a three-day meeting in Boise next week with a workshop that focuses on the allocation of resources. The budget proposal will consider ITD’s priorities of operations, preservation, restoration and expansion.
The workshop is scheduled for Wednesday (June 17) at the District 3 office on Chinden Boulevard. A regular monthly business meeting will follow on Thursday, beginning at 8:30 a.m., and a concluding tour of major District 3 construction projects is planned for Friday.
At the Wednesday workshop, board members will discuss options for a reduction in personnel expenses, a requested increase of $2.5 million for salt and liquid de-icer, a $22.2 million request for equipment replacement and $291.5 million for construction projects.
ITD staff members anticipate a FY 2011 budget of approximately $514 million, with more than $302 million coming from federal receipts.
Other board agenda items
At its Thursday business meeting, the board will consider a report about the CARS 511/Web Traveler Services System activities. The advisory council met last month. It plans to re-write the software for the low bandwidth Web site, which originally was developed in 1999 and launched by ITD in 2005.
Currently, 75 percent of Idaho 511 Web site customers use the low bandwidth option. Consideration was given to eventually display the travel speed data to be used for the Planning Division’s congestion tracking model on the 511 Web site. If the information proves accurate and reliable, the council might recommend to the board adding this information in the future.
Statewide Avalanche Program Update
ITD staff members will provide an update on the statewide avalanche program. The goal of the program is to minimize risks to the traveling public and to ITD employees who maintain the state highways. The objective is to keep state highways open during the winter months as long as there are resources to remove snow and the risk of avalanches is low.
ITD avalanche technicians monitor four primary avalanche areas across the state during the winter:
Idaho 21, Canyon Creek, 56 slide paths
U.S. 12, Lochsa, 32 slide paths
Idaho 75, Galena Summit, 23 slide paths, and
U.S. 89, Montpelier, eight slide paths
During the past winter, Idaho 21 was closed 21 days; U.S. 12, three days; and Idaho 75, one day. Ninety percent of all road avalanches in Idaho occur in a narrow stretch of Idaho 21, nicknamed “Avalanche Alley”.
Advantages to controlling avalanches and removing snow during road closures on Idaho 21 include keeping up with the accumulation, reduced user costs and fewer impacts on the economy.
Allowing the road to close and then removing all of the snow at the end of the season has the potential to be more disadvantageous. The drawbacks could be the potential of a road closure from Dec. 1 until Memorial Day; large, consolidated, deep slides; rocks, trees and debris, which could have adverse environmental impacts; and it could take approximately three weeks to remove the debris and would require more equipment and twice as many employees.
District 3 Tour
The tour on Friday will focus on the Treasure Valley. Some of the activities include traveling Kuna-Mora and Bowmont Roads in response to a local initiative to create a south Treasure Valley corridor in this vicinity, a tour of the Caldwell Airport and a district employee appreciation luncheon.