ARTBA award presented to ITD for byway public involvement

Barbara Babic, who was an integral part in planning and executing a public involvement process for the Sand Creek Byway, accepted a national award for the project this week.

Dave Butzier of Connecting Idaho Partners presented the crystal plaque Wednesday at the Idaho Transportation Board meeting in Boise. The American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) selected Sand Creek for its 2012 PRIDE award, acknowledging excellence in community relations.

The national organization selected the Sand Creek Byway as the best example of community relations and in the public sector.

“For over 50 years, building an alternate route for U.S. 95 around Sandpoint to improve traffic flow and safety has been a major topic of discussion. To obtain broad-based public support for construction of the Sand Creek Byway, ITD, in partnership with URS Energy & Construction, engaged local residents from the project’s beginning, with the idea that the new bypass should ‘fit into the community,’ not the ‘community into the project,” ARTBA indicated.

Butzier said the process was first discussed in 1953; construction was recommended the following year – ironically the same year he was born.

Five decades later, that vision became reality. The byway, Idaho’s largest highway construction project, opened to traffic in late June.

ITD and Connecting Idaho Partners (URS Energy & Construction), created a public information office in Sandpoint as part of an extensive, unprecedented public involvement strategy. It included interviews with more than 120 stakeholders, creation of a citizen–led Design Advisory Committee, a public hearing for 250 participants, staffing of a full-time project office and visibility at local events.

Newsletters and postcards reached more than 11,000 people.

Published 11-16-2012