Highway Safety initiatives and heavy-truck route applications will highlight May board meeting next week

A discussion of the annual Highway Safety Plan and Traffic-Safety Commission findings, and 129,000-lb truck route applications in D3 and D4 will highlight the May 21 meeting of the Idaho Transportation Board. There will also be recognition of zero highway fatalities in Power and Bear Lake counties in eastern Idaho.

Due to COVID-19, the meeting will again be conducted via telephone. No visuals will be available.

Because the board initially planned to travel to Pocatello this month, District 5 will be highlighted at the meeting. The other five districts will be recognized through October.

Several highway safety topics are on the agenda this month.

Highway Safety Plan
The draft FY21 Highway Safety Plan is being presented for information. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires the Plan. It provides clear and measurable highway safety targets, descriptions of the process used in determining the highway safety problems, and the activities on how the funded project will address the highway safety problems.

Some of the projects in the draft Plan include providing support and resources for education and outreach to promote bicycle, pedestrian, and motorcycle safety; coordinating a statewide child passenger safety program; conducting an observation seat belt survey to obtain the percentage of Idaho seat belt use; and funding high visibility enforcement campaigns.

The board will have 30 days to review the Plan and provide recommendations. Staff will request approval of the document next month.

Idaho Traffic Safety Commission
The annual Idaho Traffic Safety Commission report will be presented. The Commission was established through legislation to review traffic safety problems, develop effective plans for additional local-state cooperative activities, recommend programs to receive federal aid for highway safety, and recommend future traffic accident prevention activities. It generally meets twice annually to help develop performance plans and goals and to approve the Highway Safety Plan.

Zero Fatalities Award
Bear Lake County and Power County will be recognized for recording zero highway fatalities last year. The sheriff’s office, commissioners, Idaho State Police, and District 5 maintenance crews will be commended for their efforts on this amazing accomplishment. These two District 5 counties are two of the three counties statewide that had zero highway fatalities in 2019. Camas County was the other one.

The Office of Highway Safety intends to travel to the counties later this year to present awards to the involved personnel and agencies.=

129,000 Pound Truck Routes
Staff analyzed four additional routes for 129,000 pound truck route designation in Districts 3 and 4 and will present those routes for approval.

J.R. Simplot Company submitted an application for the District 3 I-84 Business route in Caldwell, from the intersection with SH-19 to I-84. This designation would provide a more efficient route to the potato processing facility on SH-19.

In District 4, Idaho Milk Transport would like portions of SH-79, SH-46, and US-93 designated for commercial vehicles to haul milk up to 129,000 pounds.

Staff’s analyses of criteria such as off-tracking, pavement condition, and safety, support the designation of all four routes. Public hearings were conducted on the routes. Only one comment was received on the District 3 route, but it did not indicate a position on the route. Nine comments were received on the three routes in District 4.  About half of the comments opposed the designation with concerns such as congestion due to trucks’ capacity to travel up the grade on SH-46, wear and tear on the pavement, increased noise, and safety. At its meeting last month, the Board Subcommittee on 129,000 Pound Truck Routes supported designating these routes for vehicle combinations up to 129,000 pounds.

Published 05-15-20