BOISE, Idaho (News Release) — Idaho Transportation Department won a pair of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) President’s awards Monday and the agency was also recognized for earning two of the top three spots for projects in public voting across the country this fall.
The awards and recognition came at the association’s annual gathering, which this year was in Boston.
“These awards show that Idaho projects consistently rank among the best in the nation,” said ITD Director Brian Ness. “Within Idaho, the quality is well-known, and having that high level of quality recognized nationally is very gratifying. We are focused on making the best investment possible in order to create a better transportation system for Idaho citizens.”
The first AASHTO award was an environmental award for finding a solution to facilitate federally-mandated safety inspections on a bridge over the Dworshak Reservoir and balance that with federally-protected osprey nesting there that were blocking the inspections (see video below) in north-central Idaho.
The award was accepted by ITD Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter.
The second award recognized the GARVEE program (see second video below), a historic investment in the state’s roads and bridges during the last decade. The 59 GARVEE projects were delivered on time, under budget, greatly increased traffic capacity and dramatically improved safety. GARVEE also added about 120 miles to the state highway system for congestion relief, added or replaced 41 bridges, and built or improved 14 of the state’s busiest interchanges. GARVEE projects were delivered at an accelerated pace and at lower costs than anticipated.
The award was accepted by, from left to right in the photo: ITD Controller Dave Tolman, Idaho Transportation Board member Jim Coleman, ITD GARVEE Manager Amy Schroeder, Dave Butzier of AECOM and Connecting Idaho Partners, and ITD Chief Operations Officer Jim Carpenter.
The agency has won 10 prestigious AASHTO President’s awards since 2010.
In the People’s Choice public voting awards in September and October, Idaho’s overall GARVEE program and Pocatello’s South Valley Connector (see third time-lapsed video below) — a collaborative project in southeast Idaho that improves commerce, safety and the mobility of drivers — both finished among the top three in public voting nationwide.
The two this year were the second and third Idaho transportation projects to have been voted No. 2 or No. 3 nationwide among the public vote – the Sand Creek Byway in north Idaho also finished second in 2011.
First envisioned in the summer of 1968, the mile-long South Valley Connector created a new connection to the south valley area of Pocatello, which finally opened to the public as South Valley Road just two days before Christmas 2015. The route connects Bannock Highway to South Fifth Avenue. The roadway consists of two travel lanes, bicycle lanes, and a 10-foot-wide multi-use pathway separated from the road.
The People’s Choice awards are a joint effort of AASHTO, AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
AASHTO also recognized a dozen ITD high-ranking employees for at least 25 years of service, and gave honor to a former ITD employee, Doug Freeman (pictured here), who was killed in a crash last fall.