Board to tour transformer plant, D-5 routes

The Idaho Transportation Board next week will learn about the potential for overlegal equipment transports by Pocatello-based Virginia Transformer Corporation.

That discussion will be part of a District 5 tour by board members on Tuesday, as a prelude to the May business meeting on Wednesday. The formal meeting will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the D-5 office. It is part of the board’s annual visits to ITD’s six district offices.

VT supplies transformers for utility, industrial, transit, commercial, alternative energy and specialty markets worldwide. In addition to building transformers at its Pocatello plant, it also reconditions industrial power transformers. Many of the units the company receives and ships are 25 feet wide, 20 feet high, 150 feet long and can weigh 250,000 pounds or more.

After touring the plant, the board will drive some of the alternative routes VT products have to follow because the Interstate bridges block their most convenient path.

May business meeting

National Summer Transportation Institute Project
At its Wednesday business meeting, the board will be asked to add Northwest Nazarene University’s (NNU) National Summer Transportation Institute project project to the Transportation Investment Program.

The Federal Highway Administration awarded $55,000 of FY12 On-the-Job-Training/Supportive Services discretionary funds to Idaho last month. NNU, a member of the Canyon County Keeping the Promise Coalition, was awarded the money for a 12-day summer camp to deliver professional and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-based skills and activities to seventh grader students.

The educational camp focuses on a targeted population of young people, including girls, minorities and disadvantaged youth, who might not otherwise consider careers in the transportation sector because of pre-existing social or economic barriers. The camp will introduce a program to expand the number of girls, minorities and disadvantaged youth who participate in early skill development as a way to prepare for careers that involve science, math and engineering.

Avalanche dynamic message signs
The board also will be asked to approve an Avalanche Dynamic Message Sign Replacement project for District 3.

Currently, there are six non-functioning dynamic message signs on Idaho 21 and Idaho 55. Replacing those signs will provide motorists with information about road conditions through the avalanche-prone corridor between Lowman and Stanley on Idaho 21. The district proposes new signs to be in operation for the 2012-2013 avalanche season. The estimated cost for the six signs is $536,913. Savings from an FY10 project are available to fund the signs.

Published 5-11-2012