Transportation board will finish district tours with Sept. 18 meeting at Harriman State Park

The transportation board's last tour of the year will be held in District 6. Plans include traveling U.S. 20 from Idaho Falls to West Yellowstone, Mont., where it will meet with the Montana Transportation Commission to discuss issues of mutual concern. The business meeting will be held Sept. 18 at Harriman State Park.

Rail Highway Crossing Program
The annual report on the Railway-Highway Crossing Program will be presented to the board. The goal of the program is to reduce the number and severity of vehicle-train collisions at public railroad crossings. Twelve railroads operate in Idaho with approximately 1,440 public railway-highway crossings.

The department receives $250,000 from fuel tax revenues and approximately $1.5 million in federal funds annually for railway-highway crossing projects and to educate motorists and pedestrians on the safe use of crossings.

Idaho's public crossings consist of 350 at-grade active warning devices, 872 at-grade passive warning devices, 153 grade-separations with the rail line over the road, and 85 grade-separations under the road. The number of fatalities and serious injuries has not changed in the past four years. Since 2010, there have been one fatality and one serious injury every year.

On-the-Job Training/Supportive Services Project
The department received $63,347 in federal funds for On-the-Job Training/Supportive Services. If the board concurs, these funds will be used to identify and train heavy-equipment operators. During the training, participants will be identified and placed with regional construction companies working on Idaho highway projects.

129,000 Pound Truck Routes
The Subcommittee on 129,000 Pound Truck Routes has approved three additional routes for permitted vehicles to haul up to 129,000 pounds. The routes will be presented to the board for its concurrence to proceed.

The first request includes two routes in District 2: U.S. 95, milepost 240.27 to 312.0 and U.S. 12, milepost 3 to 1.49. Baker Truck Service requested allowing 129,000-pound vehicles from Grangeville to the mill in Lewiston to help it remain competitive with adjoining states and provinces.

Amalgamated Sugar Company submitted a request to designate Idaho 55 from milepost 10.61 to 16.76 in District 3 because the pilot project allowing 129,000 pound weights on select highways indicated that the higher weight limits result in less trucks on the roads, less wear on the highways and improved safety. Additionally, the company believes operating trucks at the higher limit would save it approximately $9,000 annually.

The Division of Motor Vehicles, respective districts, and the Bridge Section reviewed the three routes. All concurred that the roads can accommodate permitted vehicles up to 129,000 pounds.

Published 9-12-14