Idaho Transportation

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563


October 2009 highlights

Crews dismantle the Orchard Street Bridge in Boise to make room for a new interchange

ITD applies for three federal TIGER grants
ITD recently submitted three grant applications totaling $169.4 million, seeking a portion of the $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funds available from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The three projects are aimed at enhancing economic opportunity by creating jobs for Idahoans and improving the efficiency of freight movement across the state. The projects also meet the federal requirement to be "shovel ready" to bid and for work to begin shortly after the grants are announced.

The discretionary Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds are available on a competitive basis as part of the stimulus package Congress approved early this year. TIGER grant awards will be announced in January.

The three applications submitted were: I-84 / U.S. 93 Interchange, Stage 2 Project Major improvements to I-84 also are included in an $18.9 million project proposed for the Twin Falls area.

Insurance company forecasts odds of vehicle/deer collisions
Nevada odds makers would flock to Hawaii but go far out of their way to avoid West Virginia … if there were bets on the likelihood that a motor vehicle and deer would collide.

The chance of running into a deer in the island paradise is only one in 9,931.17. In West Virginia, however, the odds of a vehicle/deer collision in the next year are one in 39.17.

Idaho lands somewhere in the middle with odds of one in 305.07, according to study results issued this week by State Farm Insurance. The report indicates Idaho recorded 4,202 crashes from July 1, 2008, to June 30 of this year. Idaho had 1,281,899 vehicles registered as of November 2008, according to State Farm.

Of the six states bordering Idaho, the highest odds of a vehicle/deer collision is in Montana where there were 9,103 crashes for 948,528 vehicles. The odds of a deer/vehicle collision in Montana are one in 104.20.

GIS-based Web application gives new depth to highway system
Every mile of Idaho’s state highways holds a story, and a new Geographic Information Systems-based Web site developed at ITD will make that story easier to tell.

The new ITD Highway Information Web site provides users with detailed highway information for each mile of the state’s highway system, such as physical condition of the pavement, average daily traffic counts or number of motor vehicle crashes.

“This new Web-based application compiles data and statistics from many ITD sections and generates a customizable single report for any segment of state highway,” said GIS Manager Brian Emmen.

Any user will be able to access a map of Idaho and zoom to an area of interest, select a segment or multiple segments of state highway and have a custom report generated as a Portable Document File (pdf) containing geographical information, physical characteristics of the roadway segment, engineering data and highway safety information. In addition to data and statistics, the site offers photographs of bridges, railroad crossings and guardrails along the selected location.

Users also can use the site to access more than 30 separate parameters about the highway including the kind of terrain a highway crosses, the speed limit, a history of improvements made to the highway, if the highway is part of Idaho’s Scenic Byways and if any historical markers are present.

Board recommends $45 million request
The Idaho Transportation Board Thursday recommended requesting $45 million in bonding authority next year to finance reconstruction and expansion of the states highways and bridges.
The bond request is part of the GARVEE Transportation Program approved by the Idaho Legislature. The recommendation will be forwarded to Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and must be approved by the Legislature. The program uses Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GARVEE) bonds to expedite highway improvements.
"This request represents a cautious and prudent approach as we continue through an uncertain economy," said Darrell Manning, chairman of the Idaho Transportation Board. "At the same time, it continues the momentum we have achieved in rebuilding Interstate 84 and U.S. 95 and planning for the extension of Idaho 16."
The Idaho Legislature has approved $681 million in bond authorizations to date. Approximately $534 million in contracts have been issued through August for the design, purchase of right of way and improvement of the state's highways and bridges.

Incident response crews keep traffic flowing
Ever had a flat tire, need a tow, run out of gas, have your engine overheat, been involved in or found yourself on the scene of a fender-bender? We all have. District 3’s Incident Response was formed in 1997 to help motorists on Interstate 84 cope with such unexpected travel interruptions.

Other districts respond to hazardous materials spills and similar incidents, but no other district has a formal entity dedicated to the service.
Whether it’s changing a flat tire, jump-starting a car, refilling a radiator, providing a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, offering use of a cell phone or providing other assistance, the Incident Response team stays busy.
In the dozen years since the service originated, ITD crews have responded to thousands of incidents on the Connector (I-184), on I-84 between Nampa and east Boise, and when asked by the Idaho State Police, they have responded to fatalities on Eagle Road and other nearby routes.

Stratten, ITD video receive profession honors
ITD earned a national award for a bicycle safety public service announcement and Public Information Officer Jeff Stratten received the Founder’s Award at the National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop (NTPAW) last week in St. Louis.

The organization for public relations professionals in the transportation industry honored Stratten during an awards luncheon. It was part of an annual workshop that includes sessions on communicating the needs and successes of transportation.

Stratten’s career dates to Oct. 4, 1985, when he was hired as the ITD’s information officer. In the past 24 years he advanced to Public Information Officer, Public Information Officer Senior, and in February became a program manager.

He is a native of Pocatello and a graduate of Idaho State University. He has held every leadership position in NTPAW, which is a subcommittee of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), based in Washington, D.C.

Orchard Bridge comes tumbling down
Construction crews demolished the old Orchard Street Bridge in Boise Friday (Oct. 23) night while most people slept. Their work makes room for a new bridge at that location. Two more long-standing bridges over I-84 are destined for the same fate – Meridian’s Ten Mile Overpass (circa 1964) in late November, and the Vista Interchange Bridge (1969) near the Boise airport in mid-December.

The Orchard Bridge was brought down in two phases – the middle three spans over I-84 traffic came down Friday night, and crews removed the two outside spans Saturday (Oct. 24) night. Penhall, the same company that took down the Black Cat and Robinson bridge spans in Meridian and Nampa in fall 2008, again made short work of the structures.

Unlike with those earlier bridges, however, this demolition did not leave a hole in the horizon where the bridge used to be. Most of the new bridge is already in place, just west of where the old bridge stood.

Published 1-1-2010