Girls State delegate finds that transportation involves
much more than construction
“Chemistry and archaeology were some of the last things I expected!” exclaimed Destiny McCoy after recently spending most of the day visiting ITD.
Communication specialist June Sparks accompanied McCoy as part of Syringa Girls State program, an annual event where high school girls are assigned to businesses and government agencies where they explore career possibilities.
“I thought the Idaho Transportation Department was all about building roads, but now I know how much more goes into it!” the high school senior said.
McCoy chose ITD because her father built roads for 20 years while in the military. A student at Mountain View High School in Meridian, she is interested in a career in public outreach. “I like to plan events and inform people,” McCoy said.
Sparks arranged for McCoy to meet with District 3 resident construction engineer Jayme Coonce at the Orchard Interchange construction site. She also rode along with a McAlvain Group of Companies dump truck driver on his rounds moving dirt at the site.
“I couldn’t believe how high up I was in that truck.”
The next stop was ITD’s Division of Aeronautics, where McCoy got to sit in a seat often occupied by the governor on the state’s King Air turbo prop plane. Aircraft mechanic Tim Henderson invited her into the cockpit and explained the aircraft’s instruments and gears. Henderson also showed McCoy the other two state-owned airplanes and explained how they are used in missions for other state agencies, in search and rescue efforts and wilderness fire suppression efforts.
At ITD Headquarters, Materials Lab chemist Ron Wright demonstrated how road materials are tested for quality assurance. He escorted McCoy through a catacomb of chemistry labs where asphalt, concrete and other materials are examined and tested.
Finally, Sparks took McCoy to the main building where she met Office of Communications staff and talked with archaeologist Mark Munch. He and colleagues showed a collection of arrowheads and other artifacts collected in advance of road building. They explained how the federal government requires items of historical and cultural significance to be protected and preserved when removed from federally funded road projects.
McCoy was surprised by all of the work that goes into planning a highway - years before the actual construction begins. Building the road is “like the icing on the cake,” she observed. “It’s the last step you take before it’s complete.”