ITD might need larger trophy case after winning 4 AASHTO awards
ITD received more national awards than any other state Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in Denver.
The department earned three coveted AASHTO Presidents Awards in administration, aviation and the environment. It also received the prestigious Frank B. Francois Award in innovation for its unique winter storm performance process.
The Francois award includes $10,000 from AASHTO, which will go to a student or students enrolled in engineering at an Idaho higher education institution.
“We are pleased to receive four national transportation awards – more than any state in the country,” said ITD Director Brian Ness. “This brings us to a total of 19 national awards for the year.”
Ness said ITD’s drive to become the nation’s leader in transportation will be realized when other state agencies look to Idaho as an example.
“Our vision is to be the best transportation department in the country. Bringing home this many awards shows we are well on our way to achieving that goal,” he added.
ITD also received a regional America’s Transportation Award this summer, and joined nine other states competing for the national honor. In that competition, ITD’s Sand Creek Byway project led all 10 states in the people’s choice voting until the final day. Idaho finished behind Missouri and ahead of seven other states.
AASHTO President’s Award – Administration
Through realignment, ITD generated $5.7 million in savings the first year and another $7 million in the second year – savings that were reinvested in operations and employees.
AASHTO President’s Award – Aviation
The easily accessible application provides a wealth of equally important safety tools that pilots can use to make safer takeoffs and landings in Idaho’s mountainous and challenging terrain.
AASHTO President’s Award – Environment
The byway was built along the picturesque Sand Creek on the eastern edge of Sandpoint. Thousands of passenger and commercial vehicles traveled through the construction zone during the summer months of three construction seasons.
The project included grade-separated interchanges at each end, threading the three-lane roadway between two water bodies (Sand Creek and Lake Pend Oreille), an historic railroad depot and an existing mainline railroad track.
Slide-off crashes have been reduced by more than 40 percent in southeast Idaho and ice duration was reduced by about 75 percent.
More than a dozen states have inquired about the process and several states plan to implement similar measures. ITD’s innovation also attracted interest in Belgium, Japan and Andorra.