ITD's Jacob Kuecker compacts the fresh asphalt with a roller.

Reduced traffic on I-84 provides opportunity for repairs at
East Boise Port of Entry

As thousands of Idahoans stay home during the Covid-19 pandemic, maintenance crews have found asilver lining – fewer cars on the Interstate means some jobs are more feasible than normal.

District 3 had been eyeing the crumbling asphalt on the East Boise Port of Entry on ramp for months, waiting for the chance to make repairs at the busy port. The project had three main challenges: trucks entering the Interstate needed all the length of the ramp to get up to speed and merge, many pieces of equipment and material were scattered across the District, and the repairs required a specialized paver and operator the District doesn’t have.

 ITD’s new Traffic Tracker tool shows a nearly 40% drop in trips on I-84 in Ada and Elmore Counties. Most of this reduction comes from passenger vehicles. The drop creates more gaps in traffic and an easier time for trucks entering the Interstate. It presented a perfect moment to make the repairs.

Traffic concerns alleviated, the next item was coordinating equipment and material. Dave Dansereau, Maintenance Coordinator for D3, stepped up to coordinate the matter. He tracked down equipment across the District, including rollers, brooms, sweepers, as well as a rotomill from District 4. He also arranged for Knife River to deliver asphalt to the project.

“Things came together pretty quick,” said Dansereau. “ITD has wonderful people, all willing to help.”

The last piece of the puzzle was the specialized paver needed to get the job done. As fortune has it, the local Glenns Ferry Highway District had just the right tool for the job – a 12-foot paver and an operator who knew how to use it. It also just so happens that earlier efforts to help the highway district netted Mountain Home Foreman Carl Vaughn an IOU from the locals.

Pictured at right: Pat Dickson of GFHD operates the 12-foot paver.

“I called in the favor,” said Vaughn, smiling.

With all the pieces in place, the crew set out to get the job done, led by TTOs AJ Hutchison (Hammett) and Marty Myers (Bruneau). They coordinated with the Port to divert trucks to a secondary on-ramp while they quickly repaired the damaged section of roadway. Pat Dickson of Glenns Ferry Highway District operated the paver while Vaughn’s crew manned the materials and compacted the asphalt.

“This project was a joint effort with the Glenns Ferry Highway District,” said Vaughn. “We couldn’t have done it without them. They are the moon and we were just the surrounding stars.”

All told, the project was completed within three days. The result: truckers have a much smoother ramp to gain speed to merge onto the Interstate. Vaughn’s collaboration and problem-solving have once again provided a benefit to the traveling public and highlighted the benefit of constructive culture at ITD.

Published 04-17-20