Inspector David Larsen looks on as trucks drive through the East Boise Port of Entry.

Idaho ports of entry provide essential service
during outbreak

As COVID-19 halts activities around the world, trucks are still moving on Idaho roads and work continues at ports of entry. The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is dedicated to providing a safe system to allow for the essential delivery of goods, medical equipment, and other important services throughout Idaho and the nation. At the East Boise Port of Entry, 2,400 trucks pass through every day on the eastbound side of Interstate 84.

“It’s still busy,” said Senior Inspector Nichole Long. “I think there have been even more loads come through because they’re trying to get the product on the shelves. Even the agricultural loads have increased because people are stocking up on those commodities.”

ITD’s multiple ports of entry (POE) are located across the state to serve the trucking industry. Each POE is responsible for conducting safety inspections on commercial vehicles, helping register vehicles, issuing permits, and providing valuable information to drivers.

Idaho POE employees are hard at work and taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Counters, door knobs, and other frequently touched spots are sanitized throughout the day. Social distancing measures are also in place, including tape on the ground that marks every six feet for those waiting in line in the lobbies.

“We’ve put signs up outside to let the drivers know if they’re not feeling well, to wait out in the truck, give us a call and we’ll come out to them,” Long added.

In addition, Long says they’ve separated staff by conducting vehicle inspections in different areas.

“One person will go outside and do inspections in the parking lot while the other is in the inspection room. We also have a registrations area where one person can set up, while the other person can be in the inspection room. That way we still have the coverage and can be open for the full amount of time, but still keep that distance too,” Long said.

Pictured: Inspector Jolana Valdez checks vehicles at the Cotterel Port of Entry.

Employees are working efficiently to keep trucks and resources moving safely.

“We want to keep the traveling public safe even through the stay-at-home order,” Long said. “If we see a blown tire or unsecure load, we want to make sure the drivers and companies know and can get it taken care of.”

Truck drivers are grateful the ports are still open and operating.

“They’re very appreciative. Even if it may take a few more minutes than normal to get a permit, they are just happy that they can get it,” Long said. “I think it goes back to customer service. It’s not just the drivers and companies that are our customers here, it’s you, taxpayers, and each other as employees. We have to be here to help keep the traveling public safe and provide that good quality customer service to everybody.”

Published 04-10-20