August 2010

Reed Ranch Airstrip joins backcountry system
Pilots now have a new opportunity to appreciate the beauty of Idaho’s pristine mountains and remote valleys – from the air and from the ground. At the same time, they can touch a colorful piece of Idaho history. With a few touchdowns and a gala “tailgate” party, the Reed Ranch Airstrip formally became part of Idaho’s backcountry airstrip system Friday (July 30).

ITD receives excellence award for 'Northwest Passage' project
ITD's Office of Highway Operations and Safety (OHOS) received a national excellence award for its work to develop a "Northwest Passage Pooled Fund" project, The award was for "The Best New Innovative Practice," and was presented recently at the National Rural Intelligent Transportation Systems conference in Huntington, W.Va., according to OHOS Engineer Brent Jennings.

ITD, Utah State find economical solution to canal current
In the spring of 2009, crews first noticed a problem in the New York Canal near ITD's Interstate 84/Orchard Road project. As the water in the canal rushed past the bridge piers, it created an alternating vortex behind the piers. The frequency of the alternating thrusts of the water, combined with the natural frequency of the channel, created an “alternating wave oscillation harmonics” in the channel that began to erode the banks south of the canal. If left unchecked, the erosion could have compromised the integrity of the bridge.

Hiring freeze is cautious response to economic uncertainty,
Direct from the Director

As a hedge against the uncertain economy and funding for the department, I have decided to broaden the department’s cautious approach to filling vacant positions by initiating a hiring freeze. The hiring freeze will be in place until further notice. It makes more sense to freeze hiring than to lay people off if the economy slows even further. In addition, I am looking at ways we might become more efficient, including reorganizing the department. It would be short-sighted to continue to fill vacant positions that could be impacted by the potential shifting or combining of job responsibilities.

Idaho part of I-90/I-94 corridor pooled-fund study
Interstate 90 cuts a relatively short swath through northern Idaho – slightly more than 73 miles. But it plays a major role in linking motorists and commerce from Washington to Wisconsin -- and the six states between. ITD became part of an eight-state coalition -- North West Passage" -- in 2005 that focuses on creating a seamless traveler information system along the I-90 route and a northern I-94 loop that extends from eastern Montana to southern Wisconsin. The I-90 segment covers approximately 1,970 miles or roughly two thirds of the nation’s northern width.

Survey shows average seat belt use at 77.9 percent
More than three-quarters of Idaho motorists regularly wear seat belts while driving, according to a survey conducted by Idaho’s public health districts for ITD’s Office of Highway Operations and Safety. Motor vehicle occupants in southwest Idaho buckled more often than in any other region, at a rate of 93.2 percent. They were followed closely motorists in north-central Idaho where the observed rate was 87.4 percent. Motor vehicle occupants in southeast Idaho were observed wearing seat belts only 62.6 percent of the time.

ITD, ISU receive federal training grant for under-represented populations
ITD and educational partner Idaho State University will implement a new training program for under-represented populations following the award this week of a $190,577 grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced ITD’s award as part of $5.9 million dollar program to support transportation-related training in 19 states and Washington, D.C.

Published 12-23-2010