Photo by Phil Braun.
State's old Highway Advisory Radio
The Idaho State Highway Advisory Radio (HAR) communication system is being decommissioned. The use of the old system was suspended on April 1. It would cost ITD about $300,000 or more per year to upgrade and operate the system, and it was no longer the go-to information source it once was.
"ITD will be evaluating whether existing HAR equipment and infrastructure can be repurposed to meet other needs," explained Mobility Services Manager Nestor Fendnadez. "Some of the infrastructure will probably stay in place, but we do not yet know at which sites." The signs' flashing lights, solar panels, and modems could all potentially be repurposed.
There are 25 HAR sites and 58 beacons located around the state, broadcasting emergency information on the AM radio frequency. However, the equipment had reached the end of its useful life, and no longer met the technology security requirements of the state.
In addition, surveys showed that the HAR system, although once popular, was now ranked well behind other more viable sources for information distribution, such as the 511 Traveler Service, social media, road apps, or roadside electronic message boards. Around the state, ITD has about 59 of the electronic message boards, although at any time, some are being used for construction projects or being repaired.
ITD’S use of the HAR system dates back to the early 2000s, although at least one other agency has a recorded use of the HAR system in 1990.