District 2 board tour takes scenic route

The Idaho Transportation Board took the long road to its monthly business meeting last week, traveling scenic U.S. 12 from Missoula, Mont., to Lewiston. The District 2 tour along the 174-mile corridor preceded the board’s Wednesday meeting, the first of its district visits this year.

Public transportation update
During the formal meeting, the board heard about public transportation issues in the region, as well as throughout the state. Residents in District 2 boarded public transportation more than 262,000 times in 2012, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year. A new Intermodal Transit Center was constructed in Moscow and Appaloosa Express constructed a new maintenance facility and wash bay. Through a partnership with the Wal-Mart Foundation, a bus was purchased for a new route in Moscow.

Increased transportation options have many impacts. Every dollar invested in public transportation projects generates $4 to $9 in local economic impact. It reduces household spending on transportation and allows aging residents to remain in their homes longer. Public transportation also is one of the safest modes of travel. No fatalities were reported on public transportation vehicles in Idaho last year.

The Veteran’s “One-Click and One-Call” projects will be implemented this year, providing veterans, their families and all Idahoans increased access to transportation options. Additional information will be posted on the 511 Transit site, providing an opportunity for individuals to check service on the web or via their smart phones. ITD’s strategic plan emphasizes the department’s role in providing mobility for all Idahoans.

Other board business

District 2 report
As has become a tradition, the host district provides a report on its successes and accomplishments of the past year when board members make their annual visit.

District 2 reported on its turn bay initiative. It tracks requests for turn bays and prioritizes them for funding and construction. Three of the top 10 projects are under contract. Three more projects should be ready for bid advertising by October.

Another project to address safety is the removal of hazardous trees along U.S. 95 near Culdesac. The environmental/cultural clearance has been obtained for this seven-mile project. Almost 300 trees will be removed. During the past three years, two fatal accidents involving single vehicle highway departures and tree crashes occurred along this stretch of highway.

Technology Transfer (T2) study
The Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) is completing a Technology Transfer Study. The purpose was to review policies and procedures of other states to identify best practices. It focused on funding, the consultant selection process, design standards for local roads, the project development process, right of way acquisition and construction management procedures.

The data has been compiled and a draft report is being reviewed.

The next steps are to complete the report and determine which recommendations to implement. Some of the draft recommendations relate to the consultant selection process, enhancing quality assurance to review local public agency and consultant performance, and collaborating with the Federal Highway Administration and ITD to determine if appropriate controls can be implemented to allow design firms to perform construction engineering inspection during construction.




Published 4-19-13