Idaho Transportation

Office of Communications
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, ID 83707
Fax: 208.334.8563


November 2009 highlights

Innovative wildlife detection/warning installed on U.S. 95 north of Moscow

Governor leads ceremony to open third lane of I-84
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter joined citizens, business leaders and government officials this afternoon to celebrate the opening of new lanes on Interstate 84 between the Garrity and Meridian interchanges. The project is improving safety, reducing congestion and creating career-path jobs to stimulate Idaho's economy.

More than 100 people attended the ceremony and watched as Governor Otter gave construction crews the signal to remove traffic barrels off the interstate to open the new lanes.

Crews were unable to stripe the third I-84 eastbound lane due to inclement weather. Weather permitting, the lane is due to be striped Sunday night and opened to traffic by Monday morning's commute.

The project widened and reconstructed six miles of I-84. It added a third lane in each direction and prepared the highway for a fourth lane that will open in 2011. The $113 million project, which started last year, is funded through federal bonds and is estimated to have created or sustained 2,000 jobs. The third lanes from the Meridian Interchange to the Ten Mile Overpass opened in August.

Upgraded Web site offers wealth of research information

ITD’s Research Section recently launched an improved program Web site that serves as a storehouse of information and valuable Internet links to transportation-related research.

Research Program Manager Ned Parrish and his staff of Inez Hopkins and Brenda Wynn began working with a Boise State University intern last spring to upgrade the Web site.

Parrish recently explained the features of the new site to members of the Idaho Transportation Board. The site lists all active ITD research projects, providing a brief description of each project and its objectives, along with budget information, estimated completion dates, and monthly status reports.

Brian Ness, regional engineer for Michigan DOT, will begin Jan. 11, 2010
After an extensive nationwide search, the Idaho Transportation Board selected Brian W. Ness to serve as its next director beginning Jan. 11, 2010. Ness comes to the state after a 30-year career with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
As administrator, Ness was responsible for helping MDOT meet its strategic planning objectives and quality improvement efforts. He holds a bachelor's of science degree and a master's degree in public administration.

Ness possesses the professional background, leadership skills, and energy to make an immediate impact on transportation in Idaho, Idaho Transportation Board Chairman Darrell V. Manning said. We know that his degree in public administration coupled with his transportation background will serve him well in effectively leading the transportation department.

Manning said the outstanding group of finalists made the selection difficult. On behalf of the board, I want to thank all of the other candidates as well as the department’s employees who remained patient during the selection process.

ITD encourages checking 511 system before embarking on trips

Idaho drivers who embark on road trips this holiday season will benefit from a statewide 511 travel information system that provides up-to-date reports and images of highway conditions.

Introduced in 2005, the Idaho 511 system enables drivers to check highway conditions on the Web at and by telephone, both line-based and cellular. The system continues to evolve as Idaho drivers look for tools to help them make wise travel decisions, explains Alison Lantz, manager of the Idaho Transportation Department’s 511 program.

Visitors to the Web site will find two bandwidth options tailored for the speed of their Internet connection.

The low bandwidth site is best suited for people who access the Web through dial-up connections. It features a large map, an event list in geographic order for each route located below the map, and a print option that creates an event list for selected routes.

A high bandwidth option is more suitable for high-speed Internet users because the site is more robust and feature-driven. The high bandwidth site includes an interactive map based on Google Map technology. Users can select from a detailed list of features located in the menu bar on the left of the map.

ITD office celebrates decade in 'temporary' office

Ten years ago, the Euro was established, Texas Governor George W. Bush announced that he would seek the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States, the television series SpongeBob SquarePants premiered and Idaho’s safety belt use rate was 58 percent.

The year was 1999, and ITD’s Office of Highway Safety moved from third-floor of the Headquarters building to a triple-wide trailer for a two-year temporary stay while a new building was to be constructed between the Annex and the Print Shop. Today, the tripl- wide remains home for 18 ITD highway safety personnel, but nobody is complaining.

Wildlife detection system included in D-2 project
From the Lewiston Tribune
Motorists traversing this stretch of U.S. Highway 95 four miles north of Moscow will soon be warned by flashing yellow lights when deer, elk or moose cross onto the roadway.

The lights, secured atop deer-crossing warning signs, will be triggered when an animal passes through laser beams focused along shoulders of the highway.

The equipment, which is powered by both electric and solar energy, has been installed as part of what's called the Moscow Mountain passing lane project. The project, funded by federal stimulus money, is in an area with a history of a high rate of vehicle-animal collisions.

The wildlife detection system is being installed by SRF Consulting Group, Inc., of Minneapolis. A spokesman for the company said the Steakhouse Hill system has three zones of detection, and an animal entering any of the zones will trigger all the warning lights on both sides of, and atop the hill.

D-1 employees prevent disaster on interstate
The best form of emergency response is prevention, as two ITD employees in District 1 will attest. Heroic efforts of Tyler Carrico and Calvin Vork, who were operating snowplows recently on Interstate 90 east of Coeur d’Alene averted a major disaster.

As they reached the snowplow turnaround location at the summit of Lookout Pass, according to supervisor Dave Autio, they noticed a westbound vehicle in the eastbound lane. The duo from ITD got onto the on-ramp headed west in an attempt to stop the driver, an elderly man. He disregarded – or misunderstood -- their efforts and continued down Lookout Pass in the wrong lane.

Carrico sent his partner to the bottom of the pass to warn the eastbound traffic while he called the State Communications Center and informed law enforcement officers of the potential crisis. Carrico drove down the mountain pass in the westbound lane next to the wrong-way vehicle attempting to get the man’s attention. His efforts were unsuccessful.

Finally, at milepost 67, two Shoshone County deputies were able to stop the errant driver, who had no idea why he was being pulled over.

Proposed regional hub would include northern Idaho
What would it take to establish the Inland Pacific Northwest as a major hub for global commerce?

That’s the question posed by a local transportation study. The groups and agencies behind the Inland Pacific Hub (IPH) Transportation Study want to share the experience of developing our area into a global gateway through a new Web site that has just been launched.

The IPH is a project to establish the Inland Northwest region as a multi-modal hub in order to increase international commerce. You can find out more about it at

The IPH concept was developed by private and public sector representatives from Idaho and Washington who envision a future for the region that takes advantage of the potential economic development opportunities associated with regional, national, and international trade.

Several agencies are working together to guide the study, including Spokane Regional Transportation Council, Kootenai Metropolitan Planning Organization, Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Idaho Transportation Department.

Published 1-1-2010